By Freya Bellin
Cauliflower is a perfect salad vegetable, as it’s full of nooks and crannies that simply drink up the flavors in a dressing or sauce. This North African style spice mixture adds a warm, sweet element to the zesty lemon juice dressing. It sounds simple enough, but the flavor combinations are really unexpected. The salad is full of textural variety: tender-crisp cauliflower, soft red onions, and leafy parsley. The result is a light, fresh-tasting, complexly spiced salad that could be a lovely side dish alongside a sandwich or some well-seasoned beans, or even a pasta/grain topper. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Chopped Cauliflower Salad, North African Style
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 25 minutes
Quickly cooking the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in the warm dressing concentrates their flavors and helps them soak into the cauliflower (the fragrance is amazing). This is one of those uncommon salads that benefits from refrigerating for a day, but it’s best served at room temperature.
1 large cauliflower, cored
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it; set up a bowl of ice water. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until you can just barely pierce the center with a skewer or thin-bladed knife (you want it still quite crisp), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cauliflower, plunge it in the ice water, and let cool for a few minutes. Drain the cauliflower well and roughly chop.
2. Dump the cooking water, put the oil in the same pot, and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring once or twice, until they are no longer raw. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat.
3. Toss the cauliflower with the warm dressing in the pot. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately. (Or wait to add the parsley, refrigerate for up to a day or 2, bring the salad back to room temperature, and toss with the parsley right before serving.)