November 18, 2010

Cauliflower Arugula "Caesar" Salad


In our post on Aioli and Mayonnaise, we promised a tasty Caesar inspired recipe that came together on Sunday from stuff in our fridge. It was so good that we made it again tonight! It gave us an opportunity not only to make good use of our remaining homemade mayonnaise, but also to use anchovy paste, which we have to admit were a little hesitant to buy when we got it to make pasta puttanesca. But we don't regret it now - the pasta alone was well worth it, but it made itself useful again in this salad. The dressing is bright and flavorful and almost spicy from the garlic and anchovy, and the crunchy cauliflower takes the place of croutons.

Caesar dressing (enough to dress a salad for 4)

- 1/4 cup mayonnaise or aioli
- 1 clove garlic (if you are using plain mayonnaise that hasn't already been garlicked. Or if you really like garlic and want to add more)
- 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon

If you're using plain mayonnaise, start by grinding the garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Stir all the ingredients together.

Cauliflower Arugula "Caesar" Salad (serves 4)

- Olive oil
- 1/2 a medium head of cauliflower
- Caesar dressing
- About 2 cups loosely packed arugula (wild arugula is delicious, if you want find it)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and black pepper, to taste

Break the cauliflower up into fairly small florets - for this application, we recommend that you cut off most of the stem (maybe save it for another use - like soup). You can cut off the stem and then you should be able to break up the pieces with your fingers, keeping in mind that these are your "croutons." Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and when it's hot add the cauliflower and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower is slightly browned and tender but still has a bit of crispness (about 8-10 minutes). Set the cauliflower aside to cool.

When the cauliflower has cooled, put it into a salad bowl with the arugula, parmesan, and salad dressing. Toss, serve, and enjoy!

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