Prune’s Sous Chef Salad

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This is my excuse for eating everything, everywhere, all day every day, when I travel (not that I need one).  Inspiration!  Recreating favorite, memorable dishes from far away… It’s like a time/space machine.  There’s always something to learn from people who, uh, actually cook for a living.

What I’m saying is, nice job, Gabrielle Hamilton’s sous chef at Prune in NYC.  I want to be like you when I grow up, and this is me trying.  Also, thanks for lunch.

The vegetables in the original recipe were not roasted (steamed maybe?), but roasted vegetables are very near and dear to my heart.  It takes time, but right now I’ve got time.  I’ve got all the time in the world for beets.

I love them.  I love them in their usual deep purple, but today I loved them golden and candy-striped.  Chioggia beets are especially beautiful, striated with pale white and bright pink.  Today, we want an especially pretty salad…  It’s okay to be vain.

Cauliflower isn’t quite so chic, but roasting helps.  If there was ever a vegetable that needed a tan…  This is it.  (But I should note how much I love it, especially roasted in a salad.)

The dressing is simple but potent: lemon, garlic, anchovy and a touch of chardonnay vinegar, blended together with good olive oil.

You can see me in the reflection of the blender.  HELLO!  That’s my Jagermeister shirt.  I know, I know.  But it’s really soft, and it was free?  I’m judging myself so hard right now.

At this point I would be perfectly content with this salad.  BUT NO.  We’re living life over here…   Bring on the meat and cheese.

Bring it on, and toss it all together with your dressing.  Live life hard.

Prune’s Sous Chef Salad
(Inspired by lunch at Prune)

For salad:
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 small-medium beets (enough for about 1 cup roasted and cubed; I used 1 medium chioggia and 5 baby goldens)
Olive oil, for roasting vegetables

1/4 cup diced salami
1/4 cup shaved asiago cheese
2 handfuls lamb’s lettuce (or other greens of your choice)
Chives, for garnish (optional)

For dressing:
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon chardonnay (or champagne) vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put cauliflower and beets into two separate roasting pans, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast cauliflower for 30-35 minutes, until golden and browned in spots.  The beets should be roasted until fork-tender, though it really depends on their size.  (In my case, the baby beets were done around the same time as the cauliflower; the bigger one took 10-15 minutes longer.)

Remove vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool.  Peel and dice the beets.
To make dressing, combine the first four ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until most big chunks are gone.  Then, with the blender or processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and continue blending until well combined and smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Toss vegetables, salami, cheese and greens together in a large bowl.  Add about half of the dressing, toss, taste and add more dressing if needed.  Garnish with chives, if using, and serve right away.  Serves 2.

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