Yesterday at work I wore a long sleeved top, a long cowl neck woollen sleeveless top and a jacket: I was cold. On the bottom, I wore a flimsy skirt, bare legs and flat open shoes. Not so cold after all. I couldn't work the weather out and so dressed for all seasons: winter on top, summer on the bottom. I was planning on a gust of icy wind hitting my upper body alone, of course.
It's good in a way: I'm dying to buy a new pair of boots and some new woollen pants for work. But it's meant to be a frugal fortnight in our house and those two items do not make on the list of essential items to be purchased. At least I can hold out until the chill really hits.
We're at that crazy stage of the year in Melbourne where it's not freezing cold, but the food popping up at markets is definitely in the 'winter warmer' realm. So I'm making a psychopath salad: winter ingredients, summer dish.
Cauliflower might be one of my favourite vegetables. (You'll notice a consistent theme on this blog: each fortnight I become obsessed with a new piece of produce that's hit the markets and go crazy creating new dishes. It, of course, becomes "my favourite vegetable", only to be discarded when a new, shinier vegetable comes along).
But I digress: cauliflower is the very best. Steamed it can be a blergh (again, it's a word). Kinda nothing but a bit cabbagey. And let's face it, cabbage does a good enough job of playing that role, so for many years, cauliflower was kinda boring to me. Then one day Mum covered it in cheese sauce and it took on a whole new flavour (namely cheddar).
Once I decided to roast the cauliflower, I knew I'd found its sweet spot. The little florets became crispy and brown, sweeter and more crunchy than the bland ol' steamed punks that haunted my childhood. Panfried is a quicker version of the roast and really takes the dish to a new level.
To balance the savoury cauliflower, we went with a bit of crunch from the pistachios and a sweet bite from the gorgeous currants. Parsley gives a great punch of green colour. The dressing is a basic mustard vinegarette.
So while the weather is sorting itself out, this is the right kind of dish to keep things stable in the kitch. Dig into the psychopath salad. You and the voices in your head will not be disappointed.
3/4 head cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup currants
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper
Trim florets from cauliflower into slim pieces. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and saute the cauliflower over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown on at least one side. Chop the parsley roughly.
Combine the cauli, pistachios, raisins and parsley in a salad bowl.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss to coat.
Serve with some grilled lean protein (like a firm white fish or chicken breast) and a glass of a crisp white wine.