I was the rare child who actually adored cauliflower from an early age. This probably had to do with the way my mom prepared it: chopped, browned in lots of butter in a cast-iron skillet and heavily seasoned with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Does it get any better? But raw cauliflower? That’s an entirely different beast that I didn’t embrace until I was an adult. I think if my mother had had access to a mandoline, she could have sliced the raw cauliflower so thinly that I would have eaten it. Thinly shaved vegetables simply make their raw state taste better. This truth, as well as the delicious raw vegetable plate at The Sutler (on Franklin Pike in Nashville), inspired today’s salad, which I am determined to have on my dinner table for Thanksgiving.
A couple of things to note: I wish I had been able to get my hands on some purple cauliflower for these pictures, but after looking at two grocery stores, I had to settle for green. Each colored cauliflower tastes different from the next, so if you can get your hands on one head each of white, green, orange and purple, I say go for it, and add each variety to this salad. Not only will it add more depth to the flavor, but it will add more color, making for a beautiful presentation.
- 1/3 head of cauliflower, preferably purple
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- 1/3 small red onion
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 3 radishes
- 1 rib celery
- 1 bag prewashed arugula or arugula/spinach mix
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, plus additional for garnish
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Using a mandoline set on a very thin setting, slice the cauliflower, fennel, onion, apple, radishes and celery.
- Use arugula straight from the bag or chop — your choice.
- Mix the arugula, sliced vegetables, almonds and Gorgonzola cheese with salt and pepper; arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle a few more almonds across the top. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice and sprinkle with some sea salt.
- (I use approximately 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon and 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar for this drizzle dressing.)