When I think of cauliflower, making a salad isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I love it roasted or deep fried or in a stir fry and we’ve all tried it raw on a crudite platter, but in a salad? Years ago I was catering a party with a vegetarian menu and and even though it was winter, my clients requested a few salads on their menu. In addition to being vegetarian, it was also to be an Italian meal. While looking up a recipe for a starter in a favorite cookbook-The Antipasto Table by Michele Sciccolone-I came across a salad with cauliflower, celery, olives, peppers and capers. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be the perfect addition to their dinner.
In Naples this salad is typically prepared for Christmas Eve. In the days following, additional ingredients are added to the leftovers to “reinforce” the salad, hence the name. This is a dish that you can make the night before, allowing the flavors to meld. The only cooking involved is boiling the cauliflower, so this is really simple to prepare.
1 medium cauliflower
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped, pitted green olives
1/2 cup chopped, pitted black olives
1/2 cup pickled sweet red peppers, cut into strips
4 peperoncini or other mildly hot pickled peppers
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender yet still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and run under cold water.
In a bowl combine the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients and toss well. Cover and refrigerate over night. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Toss gently and sason with salt and pepper.