Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Bread Crumbs

Haven’t tried this yet, but I can’t wait!

1 medium cauliflower
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup oil-cured or other good black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (alternate version:  use 1/2 cup capers, preferably salt-cured)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cups French or Italian bread (or panko crumbs), preferably a day or two old, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley leaves

1. Steam and shock the cauliflower:  Cut the cauliflower and stalks into medium-size pieces.  Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it well.  Set up a large bowl of water with lots of ice cubes.  Drop the cauliflower into the boiling water.  After about 30 seconds, start testing—poke with a thin-bladed knife or taste; you’re looking for the vegetable to be almost done, nearly tender, but not quite. When that happens, immediately fish the cauliflower out with a slotted spoon or tongs and put them in the bowl of ice water for a minute or two.  When they’ve cooled down, remove from the ice bath and drain in a colander.

2. Break cauliflower in relatively small florets and put them in a medium bowl along with the onion and olives.  Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and sprinkle with just a little salt and lots of pepper.  Toss and set aside.

3. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet and add the bread crumbs;  cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt or any spice blend and drain on paper towels.

4. Mix the bread crumbs with the parsley and sprinkle the top of the cauliflower with half of the crumb mixture. Serve, passing the rest at the table.

– How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman


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