Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Capers, Golden Raisins, and Pignoli.
Thanks to a Japanese mandolin this dish is as easy as it is impressive.
This salad is so insanely easy and so incredibly good that it will become a regular part of your repertoire. Inspired by a meal at Bluebird NYC, this recipe was reverse-engineered to recreate the refined textures and flavors of a most special dish. It is such a delectable combination: shaved raw cauliflower, plump golden raisins, briny capers, and buttery pine nuts. The cauliflower is so thin that it lends itself to being eaten raw, which is what makes this a 15-minute meal. This dish looks and tastes like it takes all day to make it. But looks can be deceiving! It's all about technique, not torture as long as you have a mandoline!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; mandoline; large mixing bowl; small sauté pan; large spoon or spatula; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed ¼ cup drained capers (reserve brining liquid) ¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pignoli 2 tablespoons caper brining liquid 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Remove most of the stem/core of the cauliflower and discard. Break the cauliflower into large pieces that will fit against the blade of your mandoline. Shave the cauliflower into thing slices and set aside.
"One of the best things about this dish is that, while it is quite good the moment it is assembled, it also can be made a few hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator because the vinaigrette lightly pickles the shaved cauliflower, making it tender without losing its crunch. This also makes it ideal for a buffet: while it sits it only gets better!"
2. Place the capers and raisins in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with the caper liquid and red wine vinegar. Set aside.
3. Carefully toast the pignoli in a sauté pan and set aside.
ILOC tip: stir the pignoli in the saute pan continuously--and continue to move them in the pan for several seconds after you remove them from the heat--to avoid burning them.
4. Add the cauliflower to the caper-raisin mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Add the parsley leaves and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the pignoli and stir well, incorporating all the ingredients evenly.
Makes 2-4 servings, as a main or side dish respectively.
Make This Recipe Your Own: if parsley leaves are not your favorite, try using big sprigs of dill instead. Pomegranate arils could easily replace the golden raisins. Toasted hazelnuts or almonds would not disappoint if pignoli are not available.