It came from The Cowgirl Chef. You can find her website here. Ellise Pierce is her name. She's a Texan through and through, but now lives in Paris. (Life is rough, huh?) AND, she writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Which is how I came to know about her.
So one day, I'm visiting her website and stumbled on this recipe. Now I like cauliflower, but no one else in my house does. Unimaginative dunderheads. Nonetheless, I was so enamored with this recipe, I just had to try.
This weekend, I finally did. And guess what? Hubby liked it :-)
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- olive oil
- salt and pepper (Ellise always calls for sea salt. I say use whatever you have)
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (for those of you who are wondering, it's pronounced keen-wah)
- 2 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
- a big handful of baby spinach
- a few fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (they were out when I was at the store, and since I was too lazy to try another, I just added a bit of rubbed sage)
- 8 sundried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
- a handful of walnuts, toasted then roughly chopped
- a big pinch of red pepper flakes
- E-Z French vinaigrette (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower florets onto the cookie sheet.
Drizzle with a bit olive oil and mix with your hands. Add a bit of salt and pepper and slide into the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned.
(Just so you'll know, roasted cauliflower is now one of my favorite snacks. With the salt and pepper...Oh. My. Gosh. This stuff was addicting.)
This is quinoa. It's actually a seed as opposed to a grain, and I've heard it's really good for you.
To make the quinoa, bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. When it boils, add the quinoa, turn off the heat and cover. Let rest for 15 minutes or until the quinoa absorbs all of the water. Now, since I'd never actually tasted quinoa, I had to sample. And I can tell you that this stuff will quickly become a staple at my house. Love the texture and it has a bit of a nutty flavor.
Before we assemble our salad, we need to make the vinaigrette. For this you will need:
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, chives)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Put the sherry vinegar, shallot, mustard, a big pinch of salt and pepper and the herbs in a small jar and shake until combined. Let rest for about 10 minutes - this softens the intensity of the shallots' flavor and allows the salt to dissolve. Then add the olive oil. Taste for seasonings. (I found the amount of olive oil to be too much. Next time I will probably cut it in half.)
I don't know about you, but I've never even seen a shallot until recently. I know chefs cook with them all the time, but I never could figure out what they were. For a long time I thought shallot was just another name for a green onion. Wrong. Then one day, I'm walking through my Walmart and I saw them.
Well, I'll be. They looked like a cross between an onion and garlic. But what do they taste like?
Would you believe it? They even tasted like a cross between garlic and onion. Learn something new every day.
Okay, now we're ready to assemble our salad.
Mix together the cauliflower and quinoa.
Add the capers, spinach, sage, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle in a bit of the E-Z Dijon French Vinaigrette and toss. Taste for seasonings and serve warm, room temperature or cold.
Doesn't this look pretty. So colorful. And did I mention that it tastes REALLY good?
I know this may look involved, but it's really not that difficult. Just a little more time-consuming. But it's definitely worth the effort. You will get full too. This makes anywhere from 4-6 servings. I refrigerated the leftovers, warmed them slightly the next day and they tasted just as good as they had the night before.
As you can probably tell, making this recipe was a learning experience for me. I tried two things--the quinoa and shallots--that I'd never tried before. And I found two new faves--roasted cauliflower and quinoa.
These guys? Well, they wouldn't tough it with a ten-foot pole.
Have you ever tried a recipe that surprised you, introduced you to new ingredients, or taught you something you never knew?
Do tell :-)