Cauliflower with chopped salad

image.jpg

I've had Turkey on my brain as of late, as you can imagine. It's a place that - outside of Texas - has had the greatest influence on the way I cook, what I cook and how I pair flavors. Like Texas, the food is straightforward and balanced, and a product of its climate and neighboring countries. The Mediterranean, North Africa and flavors and spices brought by invading Crusaders have left their mark on the food of Istanbul in particular. And it's beautiful and fresh and flavorful.

image.jpg

In this recipe, cauliflower takes on a creamy, yet hearty quality. The crisp, fresh chopped salad is a smart contrast for the simple cauliflower. You'll see that my chopped salad has a huge difference compared to a Turkish (or really any Mediterranean variety of) chopped salad: we're going radishes instead of raw onions. And it's only because I can't stand raw onions - not sorry!

The recipes below serve 4.

What you need

Fried cauliflower

2 large cauliflower heads

1 1/2 cups canola oil

Salt, to taste

How to do it

Using a large chef's knife, core the cauliflowers and slice in half. Chop the cauliflower into 2 inch florets, then pat dry with paper towels. 

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until a test piece of cauliflower begins to bubble vigorously, or until the oil reaches 375-degrees F.

Cook cauliflower in 4 batches for 3-4 minutes, or until the florets reach a golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cauliflower from the oil and place on a wire rack or paper towels to dry.

Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Store in an airtight container or a ziploc bag in the fridge for up to a week. The leftover cauliflower is great as a cold element in a salad or reheated and tossed into pasta.

 

Chopped salad

1 large cucumber

2 large tomatoes

6 small radishes

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

How to do it

Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch wedges and quarter, and chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Then, thinly slice the radishes.

Toss the cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large glass bowl. 

Serve at room temperature as a side dish.

Store into an airtight container for 4-5 days. The chopped salad only gets better with time, like a fine wine.