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curried cauliflower salad

So it goes a little something like this….
This recipe has been adapted from Thomas Keller in his AWESOME cookbook “Ad Hoc At Home”. It’s hearty and delicious. It’s all about the little details and the refined techniques that make this special. Before cooking chickpeas in this manner, I merely endured them. Now I love them. Enjoy!

THE CHICKPEAS
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 sachet (a few sprigs of thyme, a few peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 smashed garlic clove wrapped in cheesecloth or a leek leaf and tied up)
½ medium carrot, split lengthwise
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise and washed well
¼ big yellow onion, root end intact
1 TBsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Put the dried chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with 4 cups of water, and let soak for 12 hours. Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a pot. Add the sache, carrot, leek, onion, and about twice the depth of cold water to the pot to cover and bring to a gentle simmer. cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the chickpeas are tender. Drain chickpeas and stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.

THE CAULIFLOWER

1 medium head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower
kosher salt
1 TBsp distilled white vinegar
Cut out the core of the cauliflower and remove the leaves. Cut the cauliflower into florets and trim the stems; the florets should not be larger than a loonie (Canadian one dollar coin) or smaller than a quarter. Bring 8 cups of salted water to a rapid boil in a large sauce pan. Andd the vinegar and the cauliflower and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Lift out the florets with a slotted spoon and spread on a tray to cool, then refrigerate.

THE PICKLED ONIONS

For this recipe you will only need ½ cup of pickled red onions. Here is the recipe for a jar full that will last at least up to a month in the fridge, unless you eat them all before that.
2 large red onions (about 1 ¼ pounds each)
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
¾ cup granulated sugar
Cut off the top and bottom of each onion and cut lengthwise in half. Remove and discard the outer layer. Cut a V-shaped wedge from the bottom of each half to remove the roots and the very center pieces of onion. Put the onions cut side down on a cutting board and slice lengthwise into ⅛-inch thick slices, following the natural lines on the outside of the onion; cutting with the lines, rather than across (straight pieces will result, not “smiles”).Pack the onions in a 1-quart canning jar; reserve and slices that don’t fit.
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the onions. Once the onions begin to wilt, you can add any remaining onion slices to the jar, gently pushing them down in the liquid to submerge them. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to a month.

THE REST

This is my adaptation because these are the things I like to eat and the shapes and colours make for a beautiful finished salad. When making substitutions be sure to consider the balance the different components offer – slaty, sweet, colour, texture. Other options are endive, pine nuts, kale, spinach.
2 small zucchinis, cut into ¼ inch circles
¼ raisins or currants
4 oz (¾ cup) pitted oil-cured Spanish black olives (optional)
6 chard leaves, stems and all, julienned
¼ parsley, fresh, minced

CURRY VINAIGRETTE

2 tsp Madras curry powder
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups canola oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
Put everything in a jar and shake it for all you’re worth. Poof. Done

ASSEMBLE all the components and top with the vinaigrette. Lightly toss. this salad definitely gets better with a day or two in the fridge.

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