Thursday, March 29, 2012

A WInter Veggie gets Salad Dressed for Dinner

Winter is not a time that is associated with salad. When we think of Summer we think of salads. Live, fresh and vibrant with the energy of the Spring and Summer sun, or blanketed and mellowed by the Falls harvest sunsets. But during winter the only reason we have such bounty around is the world economy and Winter produce from the southern hemisphere.

That may be, but I am obsessed with salads. I love simple old fashioned tossed salads but I what I really enjoy are the more complex and interesting vegetable salads. Green beans, mushrooms, squash. All make interesting and different salads while fresh and in season.  But there are also some veggies that even in the winter make hearty winteresque salad ideas. One of those is Cauliflower. Another is brussel sprouts. Another is kale.

These are the vegetables of the winter months. Leafy greens and solid flowering cabbage family related vegetables. They are also the vegetables that we as Americans have a estranged relationship with. Within the last few years they have been making a come back. New preparations and an interest in healthier eating have motivated food professionals to find new and or interesting ways to prepared and present them to the eating public. Even Food Network personalities are promoting and presenting these vegetables as a foods that we could be preparing and eating.

I have been eating these vegetables all of my life. Often badly. But then I discovered something that changed the way I looked at almost all root vegetables. Roasting. Yes roasting.  

I mean we all know that roasting can do wonderful things to meat. It was not  until a few years ago that I realized what roasting was to so many different foods and more importantly, how that made a difference in the vegetables come out. Or really anything....well almost anything. But I digress.

I wanted to make a salad using cauliflower. Why? Well, the usual reason....I had some and it needed to get used up! That and I mean many of us grew up on broccoli and cauliflower salads that were mayonnaise based and gloppy. Now I love certain mayo based salads but the one I am thinking of I did not really ever care for.  Ew! So I thought why not incorporated roasted cauliflower in with some greens and other goodies and come up with a first course for dinner. I know not original but I  I think I came up with something yummy and not ordinary. See what you think.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula and Walnuts and Goat Cheese

1/2 Head of Cauliflower cut into small florets
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Roast in oven at 325 for 20 to 30 mins or until browned and caramelized remove from the oven a set aside to cool.

1 bag baby Arugula

1 red pepper diced finely
1 small red onion diced finely
2 jalepeneos diced finely
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

Mix all ingredients then let sit at least 2 hours

Balsamic vinegar
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 shallot finely diced

Mix in a small bowl and beat till combined and creamy

1 small log goat cheese

To assemble in a large bowl add cauliflower and arugula and the pepper mixture
plate the salad and drizzle with the dressing. Crumble goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

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