I’m not saying I don’t have a tonne of feelings as I write this blog post – some might say I’ve got more than ever (“some” being my resentful self side-eyeing every last feeling involved in their unwelcome gentrification of my brain.) But you know, sometimes there’s nothing new to say and sometimes it’s too hard to articulate, and sometimes the food can just jolly well speak for itself. I mean, this is a food blog, not America’s Next Top Best Friend. (I think it has the potential to be that, though.) Besides, if you are hanging out for my feelings like they’re some kind of pizza delivery boy well overdue to knock on your door, well there’s all the other blog posts I’ve written leading up to this point. With extra cheese.
So fried cauliflower is excellent, and roast cauliflower is excellent, but it occurred to me while mindfully spreading butter upon slices of raw cauliflower and consuming them, that…I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of love for this vegetable. Let’s not forget cauliflower cheese, which I don’t see a lot of talk of lately but is still one of the best, most comfort-food foods there is. (Actually you know what else would probably be amazing? Cauliflower mac and cheese.) I thought it would be cool to double up on them as an ingredient, and combine the snappish crunch of raw florets, with their delicate, ever so slightly peppery-butter flavour, with some aggressively fried florets, oily and crisp and charred. It was so good that I pretty much ate an entire head of cauliflower in the process. I’m not sure if that’s impressive or horrifying or really, really…unexciting. The point is, it happened, and only because the salad was so delicious.
double cauliflower salad
a recipe by myself
one large cauliflower
a couple of tablespoons of capers
a handful or two of walnuts
Slice and break the cauliflower into small florets. Place half in the bowl you intend to serve all this in. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle over the capers. Heat more olive oil – a couple of tablespoons – in a wide saucepan and fry the remaining cauliflower. Don’t stir it too much, you want to let it sit and properly brown and scorch in places. Once they look like they’re nearly done, throw in the walnuts and let them toast for a bit. Remove it all from the heat, stir into the raw cauliflower in the serving bowl, and then…serve.
(I also considered calling this Cauliflower, Fried and Raw because it reminded me of the title of the book Sarah, Plain and Tall – which I didn’t even like – or calling it Raw Cauliflower and Fried Cauliflower Salad because I can be a bit too literal at times, but double cauliflower salad seemed both the most accurate and the easiest to fit in a tweet. Isn’t food blogging just so fascinating and intellectually stimulating?)
As I said, the texture going on here is incredible, the buttery fresh crunch of the raw and the charred crisp crunch of the fried and then the soft, toasted walnuts echoing the flavours of both. This is surprisingly filling on its own, but could be something of a meal with bread and butter, or as a side dish to go with roasted chicken or some kind of pie, or could happily be stirred through cooled orzo pasta to make a salad, or served on top of soft, bursting-with-cream polenta. Or just eat the lot yourself. It’s probably best made quite close to when you want to serve it, as the fried stuff will start to flop and absorb the lemon juice if left for too long, but I’m not saying that wouldn’t have its own charms as far as eating goes.
Currently life is full of the following: taking myself and my laptop out for coffee dates so I can write and not end up turning my bed into my office, applying for jobs (hi!), getting rejected from job applications (hi!), having head pats and solace and general glorious friendship administered by Kim and Kate, saying “what the actual – oh my – what in the Rupert Campbell-Black was that?” at Orphan Black, and furiously knitting myself a jumper the colour of very rich dark red wine that is being drunk in a darkened room while you’re wearing dark sunglasses. That colour. One other exciting thing: it’s finally cold enough to spend evenings sitting by the heater while not actually wearing that much clothing, which is one of my favourite things to do in winter. Sure, not overly practical, but as Beyonce says: I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want. It’s not a bad rule to have in your head as you stumble and strut through life.
title from: Ladyhawke, My Delirium. Swoon!
Lit, My Own Worst Enemy. Sometimes I really like listening to bratty music from fifteen years ago.
Frank Ocean, Bad Religion. Oof. Words fail me, y’know?
Kacie Sheik, Air, from the 2009 Broadway Cast Recording of Hair. This song is bonkers but she has got one of the damn cutest voices I’ve ever heard and she makes it all sound lovely. Just watch me spark, I glow in the dark.
next time: who knows, maybe it’ll be truffles on truffles on truffles because I’ll have a job?