With notebooks full of food magazine recipes dating back to 1993 and well over 100 cookbooks, I don’t repeat recipes often. There is always the next thing to try. So it should tell you something significant that I made this salad twice in one week.
Spinach salads are not my favorite. I find raw spinach to be kind of gritty texture-wise and kind of a zero in the flavor department. Not that lettuce is so flavoful but at least it has crunch. I love the idea of a wilted spinach salad because I do like cooked (or at least softened) spinach, but my experience of those is that they contain bacon. Who knew you could just roast cauliflower and use that as your spinach softener?
Amongst the many treasures to be found in the Ottolenghi cookbook, this is one of the first recipes I flagged. Originially the cauliflower was meant to be grilled, but I roasted mine in the oven so I didn’t have to watch it too carefully. The ingredients may sound pedestrian but the result is not. The dressing is so good that I just kept adding to it over the course of the week and combining it with different things until I made this salad again.
I served this as a salad but it could be a side dish as well.
2 tbsp. capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 tbsp. wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for the cauliflower
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
1 tbsp. chopped dill
4 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
For the dressing, place the capers, mustard, garlic, and vinegar in a medium sized jar. Add a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Give the jar a vigorous shake. Add the olive oil, then shake again. Taste for balance of flavor and adjust accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast in the middle of the oven until cooked through and deep brown in spots, turning once, about 25 minutes in total.
Place the spinach, tomatoes, and dill in a large bowl. Once the cauliflower is done, and while it is still hot, add it to the bowl as well. Drizzle in about half the dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing as necessary. Can be served warm or room temperature.