A blizzard blew through, dumping about a foot of snow. Fortunately, our bookgroup was still going to meet – in fact, our gathering was fast approaching and we were all supposed to bring some comfort food. (I didn’t read the book this time, which is a first, but I still had to go see my girls. FYI, they read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe and didn’t, for the most part, give it good reviews. Next up: George Saunders’ story collection, Tenth of December.)
Anyway, I didn’t want to arrive both empty-headed and empty-handed, so I wracked my baby-adled brain, trying to figure out what to contribute. Let’s just say that since the arrival of young Ian, I haven’t exactly been…productive…in the kitchen. I’ve warmed up leftovers on the stove and given the microwave a good workout, but I haven’t fully cooked a single dish. I’ve left that to Rob, my mother-in-law Sandy (terrific turkey meatloaf! plentiful pea soup! lovely lasagna, etc! Talk about comfort food…) and my friend Ann-Marie who flew in from Florida for some quality time with Ian and to nonchalantly whip up some delicious ginger-maple pork loin, insane arugula-bacon-goat-cheese pasta, and, oh, just a bit of biscotti.
Hmm, what could I make that would be quick and somewhat comforting? I remembered a recipe from Gourmet Magazine, RIP, for warm Cauliflower salad that might fit the bill: I rifled through the recipes in my pantry. In fact, it turns out it appeared in the Valentines Issue exactly 10 years ago. How fitting:
Is it just me, or do cauliflowers look kind of like snow-covered trees?
This recipe is easy enough to complete during a newborn’s nap (I guess this is my new standard) and the result is quite tasty. All you need:
- 1 small garlic clove (I use three)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 flat anchovy, rinsed (I skip these – Look, if they happen to sneak into my food at a restaurant, I am cool with that, but I’m not about to actually peel open a can of those hairy little sea critters.)
- 2 T drained capers, rinsed
- 1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower, 1 3/4 lb. (I bought pre-cut, which is so not cost-effective -but time is money, right? – and I still had to cut the florets down a bit anyway.)
- 1/4 c firmly packed flat-leaf parsley
You just boil the cauliflower for a while until it’s soft but not crumbling. Then combine the rest of the ingredients into a dressing. While I frantically tried to get this done (imagine me giving the capers a rough, wild chop, parsley flying, and more lemon juice ending up on the counter than in the bowl), here’s what Ian was up to. Ah, so peaceful:
You’re supposed to whisk in the olive oil at the end in a slow drizzle, but I knew that even though he was snoozing in his swing, my little mouse could start squeaking any minute, so I dumped it all in at once. If there are any professionals out there who want to tell me why the slow drizzle matters, I invite instruction.
Alas, here’s the final result in all its salty, zesty splendor:
Only problem: this warm salad was no longer warm after taking it out into the bitter cold…so I heated it up a bit in the microwave when I got to the host’s house.
Note: subsequent servings of this also heat up well with healthy dose of parmesan cheese.