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Catalan Cauliflower and Potato Salad

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We found this recipe in Clifford Wright’s classic text on Mediterranean food: ‘A Mediterranean Feast: The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines of the Mediterranean. We’ve adapted it, first roasting the cauliflower florets in olive oil and sea salt before tossing them with new potatoes and an Irish artisan cider vinegar dressing which gives the dish a crisp finish. It’s absolutely delicious and can stand as a lunch dish on its own.

Ingredients

To roast the cauliflower:
One large cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the potatoes:
4 medium new potatoes, skin left on

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar*
1 teaspoon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*We used Living Culture Irish Cider Vinegar made in Cahir, Tipperary but you can use any cider vinegar, or in fact any vinegar from Champagne to rice wine vinegar.

 Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

2. Remove the florets from the body of the cauliflower, discarding the outer leaves and the tough core (or chop them, blanch the pieces and freeze them to add to vegetable soups). Rinse the florets in cold water and drain well. Toss the cauliflower florets in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and place on an oiled baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

3. While the cauliflower is roasting in the oven, cut the new potatoes into 1 inch pieces and simmer them for 15-20 minutes or until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Drain, return to the saucepan and dry out over a low heat for a minute or two.

4. Make the dressing: mix all the dressing ingredients together and adjust to your taste in terms of sharpness and seasoning. Toss the warm cauliflower and potatoes with the dressing. Serve the salad warm or cold.

How to choose, prepare, store and freeze a cauliflower

Try to find a cauliflower that still has its full set of covering leaves – these protect the white ‘flesh’ of the bulb and stop it discolouring.

When you buy a cauliflower, check it for greenfly and insects which can burrow into the florets –always rinse it well.

Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower before cooking: discard the tough stem at the root and any discoloured leaves. Use the rest of the green leaves and stems in soup – you can blanch them in boiling water, cool, then freeze them to add to soups later.

Don’t buy a cauliflower that has brown spots – it is ‘on the turn’ and is not fresh. It happens when the supplier removes the outer green leaves and exposes the white bulb to the air or when the cauliflower is old. If your cauliflower does form brown spots while in your care, remove them with a sharp knife.

Store cauliflowers in the fridge or freeze them. To freeze cauliflower: remove the florets, rinse them, blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water, rinse in cold water to cool – when cold, bag up and freeze. They will last a month in the freezer.

Recipe variations

You can use any good quality vinegar from white wine to balsamic.

If you use ‘old’ potatoes rather than ‘new potatoes’, peel them first.

Always dress the salad when the vegetables are warm so they absorb the flavour of the dressing.

Photo copyright foodpixies.com

 

We love Mark Twain’s quote on cauliflower
‘Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.’

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Photograph copyright foodpixies.com


Clifford Wright’s ‘A Mediterranean Feast: The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines of the Mediterranean from the Merchants of Venice to the Barbary Corsairs, with more than 500 Recipes

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