This recipe is actually similar to the classic Neapolitan Christmas salad. The cauliflower serves as a super stage, helping the colors and textures of other vegetables pop out. That makes the salad a visual delight, with red, white, and green echoing the tricolors of the Italian flag. The fresh sweetness is cut through with a piquant dressing that perfectly balances the saltiness of anchovies with citrus acidity. It’s the symmetry of all those different elements that makes this salad a success.
Serves 4 to 6
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup finely diced gherkin pickles
3/4 cup canned artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup cocktail onions
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon aged red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 anchovy fillets, minced
Fill a medium pot three-quarters full with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes; be careful not to overcook. Drain the cauliflower and set it aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk to blend. Add the remaining salad ingredients, and then gently incorporate the cauliflower with a spoon.
Refrigerate for about 2 days before serving, for best results.
(From “Carmine’s Celebrates” (2014), St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)