Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 17: Summer Cauliflower Salad

I love roasted cauliflower. In actuality, I love pretty much any roasted vegetable. Such an easy dish to make: just cut up the veg, sprinkle with olive oil, and bit of salt and pepper, and roast at 400-450 degrees until done (turning once or twice). Some times I even get creative and add in some sliced onion, maybe chopped fresh herbs from the garden, or small slivers of lemon. Ups the taste quotient and they are all things I have on hand. But with summer coming, serving hot vegetables just doesn’t work. We do a lot of grilling to avoid heating up the house and while you can certainly grill cauliflower in a basket, I was feeling like something a bit different, hence my search for a salad version of roasted cauliflower.

I found a basic recipe on Tori Avey’s site, which I modified slightly. I roasted the cauliflower early in the morning, to avoid heating the kitchen during our mini heatwave. While it roasted I prepped the remaining items, so the process took about 30 minutes and then once the cauliflower was cool, it was a simple toss, put the fridge and it was ready for dinner later that day.

It was a bit disappointing that he family didn’t rave about this recipe. Even after marinating in the dressing all day, the salad was a little flat. Although it was better on the second day, it definitely needs a bit of adjustment.

First, after roasting the cauliflower pieces, I would cut them in half. (Yes, you could just cut them up smaller to begin with, but then they would be cooked before getting properly caramelized, which lends a marvelous flavor.) By cutting the in half, more surface area would be covered by the dressing. Secondly, I think that making slightly more dressing would help in marinating the vegetables, so I have increased the ingredients accordingly. You could also allow it to sit overnight and serve the next day, to allow for more flavor to permeate the cauliflower.

Overall, with adjustments, I think this is a good dish and a way to enjoy cauliflower during the summer months.

Summer Cauliflower Salad

1 large head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 lemon

6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
16 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
3 tablespoons capers

Preheat to 425 degrees and set out a rimmed baking or cookie sheet.

Pull the leaves off of the cauliflower base. Cut off the lower part of the stem. Quarter the cauliflower and then slice each quarter into 8-10 pieces. (Flat surfaces are best as they will caramelize better.0 Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and drizzle them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the minced garlic florets to the bowl. Cut your lemon half into 3 long pieces and then slice them thinly and add to the bowl. Toss the mixture until thoroughly coated with the olive oil.

Spread the mixture out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place baking sheet into preheated oven and let the cauliflower roast for 10 minutes. Turn the slices and return to the oven for 10-20 minutes, until tender and browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, prep your salad dressing and ingredients. In small jar, mix 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Shake well.

Once cauliflower is cool, add to bowl with the flat leaf parsley, olives and capers and toss gently with dressing. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Chill.

Yield: 6 servings

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