It's a cauliflower "couscous" salad, but the "couscous" is really cauliflower! (ha, yes, I repeated this sentence about 500 times at the market today). Very much like a tabouli salad, this Middle-Eastern-inspired salad is fresh and flavorful, and highlights some of the best produce available in Florida right now. It is high cauliflower season - we have purple and orange varieties, the regular "snowball," and the fractal-laden Romanesco - and they are perfect and delicious. The cauliflower in this recipe is processed finely to look like couscous, so it is a great way to show off some of the colorful cauliflowers of the season. People at the Saturday Morning Market loved this dish today, many "couldn't believe" it wasn't couscous, and many just enjoyed the fantastic flavors from this raw, vegan and gluten-free salad.
The recipe is from Joshua McFaddon's cookbook, Six Seasons, which I wanted to introduce people to because it showcases vegetables according to the time of the year they show up at the farmer's markets (although it doesn't go by Florida season). It is not a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, but it is definitely a vegetable-centered cookbook. I like how he describes vegetables and the different ways to treat them depending on their freshness or the thickness of their skins. He does wonders pairing vegetables with herbs, and I have not been disappointed yet by any of the recipes in this book.
Sidenote: the sumac in this recipe is a dried herb with a tart, lemony taste that I think is essential for any Middle-Eastern salad. You can find it in St. Pete at Cedar's Market on 54th Ave N. It is also an ingredient in my fattoush salad, for that recipe click here.
Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, raisins, or dried chopped apricots
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 head of cauliflower or romanesco (about 3/4 lb)
3 scallions, thinly sliced on a sharp angle
2 t sumac
1/2 t dried chile flakes
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup almonds, half roughly chopped, half finely chopped
1/2 cup rough chopped parsley
1/2 cup rough chopped fresh mint
Put the dried fruit and vinegar in a bowl, and let sit 30 minutes, until plump. Process the cauliflower in a food processor until you have dry, crumbly cauliflower bits. Combine the scallions and cauliflower in a bowl, add the fruit and vinegar, toss well. Season with the sumac, chile flakes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and black pepper to taste. Add 1/4 c olive oil, all almonds, parsley and mint, and toss again. Taste and season as needed.
From 6 Seasons by Joshua McFadden