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Insalata di Cavolfiore (Cauliflower Salad)

This is a typical Calabrian way to prepare cauliflower as a salad during the winter months. My parents like theirs dressed with only oil and vinegar. I add anchovies and black olives, as is common in parts of Calabria, especially for Christmas Eve. You can make this salad several hours in advance.

Serves 6

  • 1 large head cauliflower, about 2 pounds (900 g)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 4 or 5 cured black olives, pitted and quartered
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Separate the cauliflower into florets, discarding the cauliflower’s thick core.  If the florets are large, cut them in half. They should all be about the same size so they will cook evenly.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender but not mushy, 3 minutes or so, depending on size. To avoid breaking up the florets, use a strainer or slotted spoon to lift them out of the water and into a colander to cool.

Put the cooled florets in a serving bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, anchovies, and olives. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.  Cauliflower takes a great deal of seasoning so don’t be afraid to add more oil, vinegar, salt or pepper until it is just right. Marinate at least 15 minutes before serving.  

Copyright 2005, Rosetta Costantino. All rights reserved.