Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cauliflower Salad - Unboring

Witamy!  Catherine de Medici, the Italian wife of Henry II was responsible for many famous refinements of European cookery.  From Florence she popularized serving vegetables with the main meal – mostly roasted and boiled meats, some fish and a little honey for dessert.  Looking back through history, there are several instances of French and Italian nobility having intermarried with Polish nobility.  And that’s the overly short and simplistic version of how Italian and French influences showed up in refined Polish cuisine. 
I’ll be honest here – I’m not a huge cauliflower fan.  Laura has a couple of recipes I like, but for me the taste of cauliflower needs to be “enhanced.”  But here is a very nice cauliflower salad, adapted from the French, that works well for a buffet dinner party or just as an “un-boring” change of pace for dinner one day this week.  Cauliflower is plentiful this time of year so here’s a new way to take advantage of fall harvests.
By the way, this is a good dish for trying a new healthier version of mayonnaise, made with olive oil for half the fat and calories (according to the label).  For my palate, the taste is quite similar to regular mayonnaise.  I detected a slight lemony note which was not at all unwelcome.

1 medium cauliflower, divided into small flowerets
4 medium potatoes, boiled-in-their-skins, cooled and sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
½ cup vinaigrette (see below)
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped dill (fresh is best)
Lettuce leaves

Place cauliflower in boiling salted water, cook until just tender - about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool.   At the same time, in another pot, cover the red cabbage with boiling salted water.  Cook for 10 minutes; drain and cool. 

In a bowl, combine the cauliflower and potatoes, pour in half the vinaigrette.  Taste and add more vinaigrette as desired but don't drown the vegetables. 
Place a few salad leaves on a serving platter.  Arrange the salad on the platter and sprinkle with dill.  Arrange the red cabbage on the platter around the cauliflower for color.  Garnish the top with egg slices and sprigs of dill.
Serves 10

1 tablespoon wine vinegar
4 tablespoons oil
Salt, pepper, herbs  (i.e.:  dill, basil, parsley) to taste

Combine all the ingredients and whip or blend until smooth.

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