For years, all I did with cauliflower was cut it up in salads or roast it with a mustard sauce. Then I received Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food and discovered this salad. The saltiness of the capers pairs nicely with the richness of the extra-virgin olive oil, and the green parsley adds a welcome pop of color.
This last point isn’t a minor one, since many people object to the sheer whiteness (read: blandness) of this veggie. Somehow, the cauliflower becomes more palatable by mixing it with the dark olives and green herbs. Just take care not to overcook the florets, or it won’t be enticing to anyone, even cauliflower fans!
If you’re using local, farm-fresh cauliflower grown, as I did, you might find it a little strong to eat raw. The woman who distributes for my CSA told me this is because our farm-fresh, organic cauliflower is extra high in vitamins and minerals. She recommends boiling it longer than normal and other farm-share members I know favor it in casseroles for this reason, but I found any stronger taste was masked by this simple lemon vinaigrette.
P.S. As an olive-lover, I can’t understand people who don’t like olives. But I live with one of them, so I’ve made this salad without the olives and it is still good.
Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Capers
Adapted from Alice Waters’ marvelous book The Art of Simple Food
Boil a pot of salted water. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and cook until done. While it’s cooking, mix the juice of one lemon, a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss with cooked cauliflower, then add a few tablespoons each of chopped parsley, chopped olives and capers (more or less, depending on your preferences). Taste, then add more lemon juice, olive oil , salt or pepper, as needed. Serve cold or at room temperature.