I love the smell of roasted cauliflower. I am writing this while sitting on the futon in our guest bedroom with the sun streaming in, and I can smell the cauliflower roasting in the kitchen. I feel like a cat sitting on a windowsill (why don’t I have a cat? Oh, right: I’m allergic.) My husband and I moved out to Astoria over a year ago. We upgraded to a 3-bedroom from our 1-bedroom in Manhattan and get this…we are paying less in rent! Oh Manhattan, I would have stayed with you if you didn’t make it so goddamn hard to afford you. It only took us 10 months to completely unpack and settle in to our new place. Between my chocolate business stuff and my husband not liking to get rid of things, we had a lot of boxes to go through.
Living out of boxes for 10 months can put a strain on a marriage, especially if one of you (moi) is a bit of a control freak. But one of the things I’ve learned about marriage is that the ugly times don’t have to just be ugly. They can actually be a stepping stone to get to the next level of a lasting marriage. Even though whenever we have an issue my body is taken over with panic and dread at the thought of having to discuss it, I always feel elated after we talk through something. Happy endorphins rush through my brain like a leprechaun sliding down a rainbow. I think it’s partly due to the fact that for a short period of time I don’t feel anxious, but also knowing that we came out of it even stronger is an emotion that I cherish every time.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I don’t care for raw but I absolutely love roasted. In fact, I think I love any vegetable that has been roasted. It completely transforms the flavor of food, especially raw veggies. I made this recipe, adapted from The New York Times, while my mom and stepdad were visiting last week and we all agreed that it was a keeper. Everyone had two servings and bypassed the pork tenderloin completely. Now that’s some good cauliflower. The arugula adds a nice bitter, peppery flavor while the toasted walnuts and Gruyère add nuttiness and creaminess to the dish. You could probably substitute any other nut if you’re not a fan of walnuts. If you have another nutty cheese on hand, like Manchego, that would work just fine too. It’s also a very pretty salad that would go nicely on your Thanksgiving table if you want to forego that green bean casserole this year. Sacrilege! Ok, make it in addition to the casserole. 🙂
This salad is best served warm. The cauliflower can be roasted one day ahead. Just slip the roasted florets back into the oven for 15 minutes or so right before serving. Assemble the salad, dress it, and let your guests swoon over it.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula, Walnuts and Gruyère
- 1 head cauliflower cut into bite-size florets
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 5 oz. arugula
- 1 cup Gruyère grated
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts roughly chopped
- Heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar with the remaining salt and pepper, and then whisk in the remaining oil.
- In a salad bowl, toss the arugula, cheese, nuts and warm cauliflower. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss until well combined.