Sunday, October 7, 2012


All hail! Summer is a-goin’ out. Autumn, cummin in, brings cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage to local markets. I love these cool season vegetables.

The one season I planted cauliflower in my garden, I wound up with a dozen heads all ready at the same time. Since a single cauliflower can last me for days, this was overkill. Now I buy it at the market, one every two or three weeks. (Broccoli is a different matter, as it goes on and on and on in the garden.)

Compared to cabbage, cauliflower is rather the aristocrat in Spanish cooking. It is a favorite for the Christmas Eve dinner, la cena de nochebuena, when it is prepared in a rich almond sauce. Home cooks might serve coliflor al ajo arriero, “mule drivers’" style, with lots of golden garlic and pimentón (paprika). In tapa bars, cauliflower is dipped in saffron-colored batter and fried until crunchy.

Tapas of cauliflower salad.
Another tapa bar fave is this cold dish, a salad of cauliflower with a lemony-parsley dressing.

The salad is an easy make-ahead side dish to serve with a buffet dinner or barbecue party. The cauliflower can marinate overnight in the dressing, but don’t add the tomatoes until shortly before serving.

You definitely can vary the basic recipe. Some additions you might like: chopped ham, bacon bits, anchovy snippets, toasted almonds, olives, red pepper flakes, diced cheese, oregano or dill. Vinegar can be substituted for the lemon juice.

Tonight I am serving the salad as a starter for a vegetarian meal. I used quail eggs instead of regular egg and added some purply-black Aragonese Marcida olives.

Cauliflower salad makes a good side dish for a buffet meal.

Cauliflower Salad
Coliflor Aliñada

Serves 6.

1 ½ pounds cauliflower
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 tomato, chopped, or handful of cherry tomatoes
Lettuce to garnish
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced, or a dozen quail eggs, halved

Separate the cauliflower into florettes. Cook them in boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water.

When cauliflower is cool, place it in a large bowl. Add the parsley and onion.

In a small bowl combine the garlic, oil, lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine. Spoon the dressing over the cauliflower and stir gently. Cover the cauliflower and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Shortly before serving add the chopped tomato and salt to taste. Spread the salad on a serving platter and garnish with lettuce leaves and sliced egg.

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