Saturday, September 28, 2013

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


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


Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons wine vinegar


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

Two Years Ago Today: Kona Coffee Cookies

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

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