Very few people are passionate fans of cauliflower, and I really can’t blame them. Raw and undressed, it only makes a good snack if you’re in the right mood for it. Otherwise, cauliflower is hard, bland, and has the unfortunate tendency to cut your gums if you try to take too large a bite.
Accordingly, even if you consider this recipe to be only mediocre, it will still qualify as “surpassing your wildest expectations” for this flavorless, violent vegetable. However, this recipe is far from mediocre.
Not only does this grilled cauliflower salad boast an appealing savory flavor, but it is also the perfect “leftovers” dish in that it can easily incorporate leftover ingredients from other meals. Extra garlic or tomatoes? You’ll need them. Extra onion, vinegar, or herbs? Throw them in. Don’t have capers? Olives will do just fine.
The end result is an addictive side dish that uses cauliflower as a base for all the flavors that aren’t quite socially acceptable to eat by themselves…at least in public. Washing down spoonfuls of capers with a swig of olive oil sounds fantastic, but it might lose you some friends.
Grilled Cauliflower Salad
(Adapted from Ottolenghi: the cookbook)
1. In a small bowl or a food processor, combine the capers, mustard, garlic, and vinegar to make the dressing. While whisking or running the processor, add 1/8 cup of olive oil until the dressing is creamy.
2. Next, prepare the cauliflower. Let the florets cook in a pot of boiling, salted water for three minutes, until they are still tough but starting to become tender. Drain and dry the cauliflower, then toss it with the remaining 1/8 cup of olive oil.
3. If you have a grill pan or an equivalent, grill the cauliflower over very high heat until it begins to char. If you do not have a grill, sauté the cauliflower over high heat until it begins to brown.
4. Toss the cauliflower in the dressing until it is fully coated. Add the dill, spinach, and tomatoes, and mix well. Season to taste, and serve warm or chilled.
2 tbsp. capers, chopped
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
3 cloves garlic, diced small
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp.
1 small cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 tbsp. dill, chopped
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (approximately 20 tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste