Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad

I watched St. Elmo’s Fire last night, and I’m sort of concerned about Andie MacDowell.  If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, all you need to know is: Emilio Estevez = legit CREEP in this movie.  And what does sweet, pretty Andie do when he shows up at her ski cabin where she’s staying with a seemingly far less creepy man?  Let him cozily spend the night at said ski cabin and offer him a pair of warm plaid flannel pajamas.  ANDIE.  He wants to lock you in his basement and weave blankets out of your hair, sister.

Was there no such thing as stalking in 1985?  Maybe no one knew about All Things Creepy before Silence of the Lambs came out in 1991.  Yeah, that must be it.

Meanwhile…  All I can do is make salad.  And what a salad this is!  In the rainy tail end days of “official” winter, we roast cauliflower.  Then there’s fresh baby arugula for a nutty, peppery crunch, dijon and lemon, sweet bits of dried cherries or raisins, Parmesan for savory fullness, and pine nuts, which were basically made to be with arugula forever.

BOO!

….Sorry, I had to.

Okay, I’m done with Emilio for now.  Ahem.  Let’s make like Martha and focus on our salad.

Cauliflower is one of my favorites, and it’s completely underrated.  It isn’t fussy. You can undercook it, overcook it, not cook it at all–it’ll still be delicious.  My favorite way to prepare it is roasting or sauteeing…  The browner, the better.  Caramelizing makes everything taste fantastic, and this is especially true for cauliflower.

If you’re ever in doubt as to what to start with when making a salad dressing…  I would suggest considering dijon mustard.  Often.  It’s tangy and bright, and you can add a little for a hint of flavor, or a lot for a decidedly mustardy dressing.  That’s what I chose to do here, because I think it’s particularly well suited for the sweetness of roasted cauliflower.

Plus, basics like lemon juice, olive oil and spices.

Ohhhh.  Shaving Parmesan with a vegetable peeler is so much more luxurious than grating it into salad.

And there we have it.  Don’t let Emilio into your ski cabin.  Ever ever ever.

Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad
(adapted from Rx4Foodies

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 handfuls baby arugula
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting cauliflower
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins or dried cherries (I used a dried berry blend that also included cranberries and blueberries)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/8 teaspoon (or more to taste) crushed red chili pepper flakes
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spread out cauliflower florets on baking sheet–drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until browned and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and red pepper in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

At this point you can toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, or arrange cauliflower, berries, pine nuts and parmesan shavings on beds of arugula and drizzle the dressing over the top.

Serves 4 or so.

3 Responses to Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad

  1. Yum. This salad looks delicious. I wish SOMEONE else in my house liked cauliflower. It just doesn’t make sense to buy it only for me. I LOVE roasted cauliflower with a strong cheese too. . . . Looks perfect. Of course, I’ve never seen St. Elmo’s Fire – always kind of wanted to, but always misunderstood it I think. I was always under the impression that it was a romance. From what you’re saying here, ummmm, not so much. Someone needs to slap some sense into Andie apparently!

    • I would say it’s more of an angsty coming-of-age flick. Kind of like the Breakfast Club, but post-college!

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