Friday, June 15, 2012

Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad

Chargrilled Cauliflower Salad 1

This time last year (year before too, actually) I was enjoying five weeks of absolute bliss on the Greek island of Paros - daily yoga classes;  morning swims;  leisurely breakfasts with wonderful friends;  lunchtime trips to town for coffees, pastries (OMG, the pastries!!) and retail therapy;  afternoon siestas and more swimming;  poolside lounging, discussing the multitude of dinner possibilities;  then long, balmy evenings in village and oceanside tavernas, enjoying lively conversation with all my yoga companions, not to mention fabulous food and, of course, the ouzo.

As an aside, you can read other posts and recipes from my Greek island holdiays here:

Anyway, why you may ask am I bringing all that up now?  Well I first made and photographed this dish just a couple of weeks before my trip last year, while I was hanging out in Alli's cooking school (oh, the memories).  I duly committed the recipe to draft, and had the idea that one of my leisurely afternoons by the pool, with laptop by my side, would be spent knocking this into a post.  Nope, absolutely, did not happen!

Still, I've made this salad many times now since then - it is a real favourite - and as (despite the price), I seem to be absolutely mad for cauliflower right now, I thought it was high time I dragged this one out, dusted it off and shared it with you.  This is great eaten slightly warm or at room temperature - that said, it's not half bad the next day as well, should you be lucky enough to have any leftovers.

This makes a great starter or side, but I am more than happy to just tuck into a huge bowl of this as a meal.

This is another recipe I adapted slightly from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, which as you know by now is one of my favourite cookbooks, and is my contribution this week to Cookbook Sundays.  This would definitely be one of my desert island cookbooks, and if you are not yet convinced that you should add this one to your collection, check out my sidebar for other dishes I've made from this book that might inspire you.

Also available in New Zealand from Fishpond 

Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad Recipe
Adapted from recipe from
Serves 2 as a light meal or
Serves 4 as a starter or side dish
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

2 tablespoons capers, drained & roughly chopped
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
1x small cauliflower, divided into florets
1x fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved (use a mandoline if you have one)
2x large handfuls baby spinach leaves
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
flakey sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Begin by making the dressing.  In a small bowl (a mortar and pestle is particularly good for this if you have one), mix (or pound) together the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper.  Then whisk vigorously while you add the olive oil in a slow trickle (probably around 3 to 4 tablespoons), until you get a thick, creamy dressing.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad 1A

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt liberally, and add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water.  Simmer for 3 minutes only, then drain immediately into a colander and run under a cold tap to halt the cooking process.  Leave in the colander to dry well.  Once dry, place in a mixing bowl with more olive oil (again, around 3 to 4 tablespoons) and some salt and pepper.  Toss well.

Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad 2A

Preheat a ridged griddle pan over high heat for about 5 minutes or until very hot.  Then grill the cauliflower in a few batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.  Turn the cauliflower pieces from time to time as they grill, to get nice little charred bits all over.

Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad 3A

Once nicely charred, transfer to a bowl, and while the cauliflower is still hot, add the dressing, fennel, spinach and tomatoes.  Stir together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve warm or at room temperature, adjusting the seasoning again at the last minute.

Chargrilled Cauliflower Salad 4

I'm sharing this dish this week at Cookbook Sundays, where my friends are delving into their cookbook collections and sharing some of their recipes.  Do stop by to see what they're cooking - you might even feel inspired to link up a recipe from one of your own cookbooks.


I'm also sharing this post at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollum.  This week Michael is having a summery picnic on the lawn - I know that's not exactly the kind of thing that springs to mind right now here in the depths of the New Zealand winter, but I loved her idea of serving salad in one of those big, lidded glass cookie jars.  Beautiful presentation, and a great idea for transporting food outdoors - check it out.

Foodie Friday Badge

I'm also sharing at Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, and at Gallery of Favourites hosted by April at 21st Century Housewife.


  1. Love the sauce and salad. Nice to meet through food buzz.

  2. wow, that looks so delicious! i love fennel:) mmmmm!

  3. I love this one, +1!


  4. Sue, that looks wonderful. I'd eat it all too.

  5. Lovely flavours Sue, I would happily join you for this lunch! I hope we get to catch up at the conference, I'll be there Thur to Sunday evening, must email you about accommodation.

  6. I love everything in this salad and the colors are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  7. Sounds like a wonderful break in Greece! Your photographs of this dish are gorgeous, and I love the sound of the recipe - what a great combination of ingredients!

  8. Lovely Sue! Beautiful salad and something new to try with cauliflower, just what I needed :)

  9. This salad looks absolutely delicious!


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