Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cauliflower Salad with Red Pepper, Olives and Anchovies




From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I first sampled this salad in the Italian kitchen of my childhood. Mrs. S. made it for her family, but only during the Christmas holiday. The dish originated in Sicily and it was called insalata di rinforzo. She called it reinforced salad because its ingredients were refreshed every day until the feast of the Epiphany was celebrated. At that point, it would miraculously disappear from her table and not be seen again until the following Christmas. I had really fond memories of the salad which looked like an element of giardiniera, but tasted nothing like its acrid pickled cousin. I had for years tried to duplicate it, but was never able to get it quite right. While searching for recipes that could be used to represent the work of Marcella Hazan, I stumbled on her recipe for the salad and, of course, had to try it. What was lost had now been found and I wasted no time making it. I love the way this salad looks and I really like its heady earthy flavors. The salad, which is very easy to make, is strongly flavored and not meant for the faint of heart. Those who share my love of full-bodied foods are in for a taste treat. Please note that the recipe uses capers and anchovies, neither of which are favorites of the general public. I'd love to tell you they can be omitted, but that is not the case. It's best not to attempt the salad if you aren't going to use them. Hazan's recipes have a lovely balance of flavors and I think you'll really like this salad. Here's the recipe.

Cauliflower Salad with Red Pepper, Olives and Anchovies...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Marcella Hazan

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, about 1-1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons capers, drained
4 flat anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sweet red bell pepper,peeled, cored and cut into thin strips
10 black Greek-style olives, pitted and cut in half
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Directions:
1) Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut an x in the root. Bring at least 6 cups of water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover pot, and cook until stem of cauliflower can easily be pierced with a fork, about20 minutes. Drain and cool.
2) Break cauliflower clusters into bite-sized pieces and put them in a salad bowl. Add capers, anchovies, bell pepper and black olives and toss gently to combine. Add vinegar and olive oil and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield 4 to 6 servings.









One Year Ago Today: Red Peppers Stuffed with Orzo and Feta Cheese
















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You might also enjoy these recipes:
Marinated Vegetable Salad - Drick's Rambling Cafe
Chopped Vegetable Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing - David Lebovitz
Vegetable Salad with Cheese - Eat Pray and Blog
Orzo Vegetable Salad - Maine Food and Lifestyle
Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad- My Life in Food

57 comments:

Ginny said...

Well, I DO love cauliflower...I have never seen a recipe like this one.

Pondside said...

This recipe is totally 'other' to me. We like strong flavours and are fans of capers and anchovies, so I think I'll try it. I like the idea of a salad that can 'grow' through the week.

Kalpana Sareesh said...

Very innovative salad..

SKIP TO MALOU said...

I love anchovies, and olives and capers, so I would love this for sure. Like Ginny I've never seen a recipe like this one too.
Thanks for sharing!
malou

Chiara said...

I add escarole, crusty bread and boiled eggs,it 'a complete dish, very popular in Southern Italy, have a good day Mary...

Cindy said...

I love this! (I make a similar one, from Annie Hawes' book Extra Virgin.)

tandysinclair.com said...

This is the perfect salad and my friend who loves anchovies has been sent the link! Have a great day Mary :)

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

I love olives and capers and cauliflower so this looks like a perfect salad for me and such a nice way to change things up a bit

Martha said...

This does look yummy and I do have anchovies in the larder -- I may just have to try it soon for I love vegetable salads.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Just my kind of salad. Chiara's idea of having boiled eggs and crusty bread with it sounds just perfect to me. Take care Diane

Becki (Becki's Whole Life) said...

I love cauliflower, but unfortunately I am the only one in my house so I would probably make it and take some over to my neighbor. It's great that this is a healthy dish, but its so full of flavor!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love strong flavors!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I love that it grew through the holiday and then disappeared on Epiphany, not to be seen until the next Christmas. It is beautiful and I am sure delicious. Thank you, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

Sue/the view from great island said...

What an unusual salad. I love cauliflower and never know what to do with it. It's funny that it was a Christmas tradition, it seems like the perfect summer salad.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Mary you are so wonderful..I need a bowl of that fresh and healthy salad!

Ann said...

Hi Mary! What an AMAZING site you have! I love your blog, your recipes and your photography is incredible! I am going to enjoy your blog very much! I had to comment on this terrific salad. I love vegetables like this, but if they're too pickled....ugh. I've gotta scoot...I'm going to peruse the rest of your blog!

StephenC said...

I would never be called faint of heart. I'm going to put this salad together with just a couple of modifications. I will use my beloved castelvetrano olives and I will use a green bell pepper (two reasons: I love their taste, and they are cheaper).

Kim said...

I'm sure this salad will please me. I love all the flavors of it, even capers and anchovies! Plus, it looks good!

Epicurea said...

hmm, marcella hazan is indeed a genius and thanks for pointing out yet another fantastic looking recipe that is worth trying!

PeggyR said...

This sounds wonderfully refreshing!

Jenn said...

Cauliflower is something I've never truly come to like, but in your truest form, Mary, you make me want to at least give it another try!! The salad looks beautiful.

From the Kitchen said...

I'm happy to be lumped into the "not the general public" category. I like both capers and anchovies. In fact, I'm always flabbergasted when restaurants offer Caesar salad with no anchovies. How is that possible? I'll be preparing this salad. Probably not for any holiday but just because.

Best,
Bonnie

saffronstreaks said...

I have never tried a cauliflower salad, but yours is looking so yumm and with anchovies..really a good innovation

thanx for sharing it

Trish - Sweetology101 said...

Mary! YOur comments were so nice to read this morning. I can not tell you how much I appreciated that. Now I have found YOUR amazing blog and will devote the next hour or so (before kiddies wake up) while sipping coffee devouring your archives! JOY and BLISS!!

Karen Harris said...

What a colorful salad, just beautiful. I love capers but shy away from anchovies. Isn't it wonderful when you rediscover something that you loved as a child.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Looks delicious, packs a lot of flavor, I'd love it.

Kalyn said...

Love the sound of this. I might try using anchovy paste stirred into the dressing.

June said...

Gorgeous and perfect with anything from the grill. Love anchovies, love capers and can't wait to try this. Thanks Mary. You've done it again!

Alexis @ There She Goes said...

i loveee cauliflower! this looks like an awesome new way to eat it...I have yet to eat an anchovey though, even though I have a tin, resting away in my pantry

Clint said...

This is creative as all get-out.

The Slow Roasted Italian said...

How incredibly interesting with the anchovies, olives and capers in there!!

Pam said...

Great textures, flavors, and colors - it looks terrific Mary!

Pam said...

This is a great cauliflower salad and I can imagine how good it tastes with the anchovies. Perfection!

Drick said...

I learned a long time ago not to mess with a good thing, esp a classic taste like this salad... so glad you were able to find it, it reads as if it was worth the wait.... and thanks for the link, I appreciate it

That Girl said...

The story of the Christmas salad is fascinating to me!

Parsley Sage said...

That's a very cool story about the Christmas salad :) Your version sounds lovely as well! I'm a convert to cauliflower so this should be perfect for us :)

://: Héni ://: said...

oh wow what a lovely way to use cauliflower I love it and am going to try it! thanks for sharing mary

Michael Toa said...

Beautiful salad Mary. I love all the flavours, especially with the capers, anchovies and olives. Delicious.

Joanne said...

Capers and anchovies, with their strong flavors, must really make this delicious!

highplainsdrifters said...

it took forever to get M. to let me put fish sauce in the banh mi. had to sneak it in a little at a time, and tell her what she had been eating. so not sure how i apply that strategy to anchovies! cheers!

Angie's Recipes said...

An innovative cauliflower salad!

Rita said...

What an original recipe; love all the ingredients.
Rita

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

So lovely and refreshing - a super summer vegetable plate - the cauliflower like this sounds delicious.
Mary

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Always on the look out for new ways to serve cauliflower. And, I'm up to the sturdy flavors, too!

sweetcarolinescooking.com said...

What a beautiful salad, I love this recipe. Healthy, simple and delicious. Hope you're having a lovely day. xx

Junia said...

i love cauliflower and red pepper. yummy salad mary! hope you are having a great week!

Gen said...

I am not a great fan of cauliflower but now that I've seen your recipe, I think I'm gonna change my habits and eat it in a salad with some vinaigrette ^^

Emily Malloy said...

Deeelish!

Juliana said...

MAry, great way to prepare cauliflower salad, specially with anchovies...love it!
Hope you are having a wonderful week :-)

Elaine said...

Anchovies and capers? This looks like a salad my husband would really enjoy.

MyBlackPoodle said...

Another recipe I have to try! I enjoyed your story about having special dishes for the holidays. We do that too and I have many happy food memories. Not just eating the food, but preparing it and sharing it with those we love.

Rettabug said...

Well, it sure LOOKS good! I LOVE food that makes your taste buds dance, so I'll go for it. I'm wondering if I could use anchovie PASTE instead of the little fish? Only because I have it on hand. What do you think?

After being so thrilled with Marcella Hazan's green bean recipe last week, I just know this will be awesome.

Your photos make me want to cry, Mary. I've recently picked up several books on digital food photography & you could have WRITTEN them, seriously. Yours look every bit as beautiful as the ones in magazine & in cookbooks.

Thank you for sharing ALL your talents.

fondly,
Rett

Elisabeth said...

Love cauliflower, and your salad with the olive and anchovies make it super special and over the top delicious.
Thanks for sharing:DDD

Janine said...

I seldom see cauliflowers being used in salads, but this looks so colorful and awesome! Am definitely trying this out since I'm boring an I've only been eating cauliflowers in soup, curry or stir fry.

yummychunklet said...

What a great and tasty alternative to lettuce salad!

Stevie said...

I don't understand the general public's disdain for anchovies and capers. I think that they're simply divine! Marcella Hazan is cool, too. Your salad looks super in my book. I'm going to try it soon. This week if we still have bell peppers at home.

Catherine said...

Hello Mary, Just stopping by to say that I hope all is well and that everything looks delish! Blessings, Catherine

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