Warm Cauliflower Salad with Chevre
There are a little over two weeks until my favorite holiday of the year. Thanksgiving is the best — cooking for days, eating for hours, shopping the next day. (Was there any surprise that I’d be obsessed with a holiday that celebrates family, football, and above all, food? Please.) Plus, the Friday After Thanksgiving is also the official kickoff of holiday music on the radio and if there’s anything I’m obsessed with, it’s holiday tunes.
All of this is to say that I’m really looking forward to Thursday, November 25. And so is New York magazine, which ran a series of holiday recipes in last week’s issue. Thomas Keller made creamed pearl onions, Mario Batali made apple pie (with lard in the crust — the man has no shame), Tom Colicchio made stuffing, etc. But I only had eyes for Alfred Portale. Or at least his roasted cauliflower salad with fresh goat cheese. Let’s not lie, he had me at “roasted cauliflower,” but arugula, carrots and apples tossed with an apple cider-Dijon dressing sounded amazing too. It’s a multi-part (read: long) process that makes for a hearty main-course salad, but the effort is worth it. There’s salty and sweet and spicy and crunchy and soft and tangy and healthy all on one plate. For the sake of balance, Keith and I paired it with fries.
Naturally, we made some changes. Our version is posted below, though the full recipe can be found here.
For the roasted cauliflower:
– 1 large cauliflower, separated into large florets
– 2 shallots, sliced thinly
– 5-7 sprigs thyme
– 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper, to taste
1) Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. Add the cauliflower, salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium-high heat.
2) Add the shallots, crushed red pepper and thyme and stir well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
3) Spread the cauliflower out on a lined baking sheet. Roast at 425 until browned (Portalo suggests 10 minutes, but we like our cauliflower with more color so we did 25).
For the salad:
– 2-1/2 cups baby arugula
– 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin coins
– 1 large green apple, quartered and then sliced thinly
– 1/2 small red onion, diced
– 3 ounces fresh chevre
– spiced nuts (we used the sweet, spicy and salty pecans from Whole Foods)
Wash the first four ingredients and toss in a large bowl.
For the salad dressing:
– 2/3 cup olive oil
– 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Whisk until combined.
1) Toss 2/3rds of the dressing with the salad and place it on a plate.
2) Top with the cauliflower. Drizzle some of the remaining dressing on top.
3) Add the chevre and nuts. Dinner is served.