Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
If you’ve been reading my recipes for awhile, you’ve probably figured it out: I love cabbage. And my feelings extend to most of its cousins in the diverse vegetable family called Brassica, including cauliflower. Also a favorite of Pliny the Elder, its dense heads—actually flower clusters botanically known as inflorescence—have a delicate flavor that go well with most anything.
My favorite way to eat cauliflower is roasted to within an inch of its life. Don’t bother with any fussy preparation (I really hate it when a recipe tells me to “separate the cauliflower into florets”), just chop it up into rough chunks, including the core, spread them into a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast it until the smaller bits are nearly burnt. One warning: A single head cooked like this is barely enough for two people.
If I’m not roasting my cauliflower, I usually make salad. But I don’t like mushy, waterlogged, overcooked cauliflower, which is what you’ll get if you follow most directions for boiling the whole head for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. For firm but tender cauliflower with a little crunch, drop it into well-salted boiling water, stem-end first, wait 2 minutes and flip it over, then pull it out after 1 more minute.
The familiar flavors in this salad come from classic American potato salad: a mayonnaise-and-mustard dressing, the sweet-tart flavor of pickles and chopped boiled eggs. But it gets a flavor boost from extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
1 cauliflower, about 3 pounds
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons chopped pickles
2 tablespoons chopped pickled sweet peppers (Mama Lil’s, highly recommended)
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Drop the whole cauliflower in salted boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool, then chop coarsely (the core, too). Mix together with remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.