Cauliflower and cashew salad
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Tamara West
Every now and then I have the privilege of feeling a recipe come together as if by magic, without a great deal of conscious effort on my part. It goes almost without saying that these recipes tend to be the best ones and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the newest example. Roasted cashew sprang to mind instantly as a partner to the sweet nuttiness of roasted cauliflower in this salad. I have added a little turmeric and cumin for colour and interest, baby peas for their colour and sweetness, shaved fennel for its harmonious aroma and light freshness and colourful silverbeet for depth of colour and leafy goodness.
I started the dressing with raw cashew and water blended together made a base, then added a little vinegar for acidity and salt to season. Some oil? Not necessary, the cashew has already taken care of that. The x-factor bubbled into my awareness like the first listen of a new favourite song — fennel seeds to accentuate the fresh fennel in the salad. When I first made this dressing I had a taste to see what else was needed and oh, wow, how amazing, it brought a huge smile to my face — then puzzlement. How could all that flavour come from such simple ingredients? My intuition told me not to overthink it, just be grateful. I Hope you like it as much as I do.
Serve this salad while the cauliflower is still a little warm from the oven — it brings out the flavours of all the ingredients.
|1½ cups||Frozen baby peas|
|1||Fennel bulb, with tops on|
|½ cup||Roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped, plus a few whole nuts to garnish|
|3 leaves||Silverbeet, variety of colours, chopped|
- Heat oven to 200C fanbake. Prepare cauliflower into nice little florets by trimming leaves off at base, cut in half, then cut the thick stalky bits away from inside the head. Use fingers to break into small pieces, each about the size of a large grape.
- Toss the cauliflower florets in a bowl with the salt, turmeric and cumin seeds. Smear an oven dish with the canola oil then add the cauliflower and bake for 15 minutes until slightly charred and softened, then remove and place in a large bowl to cool a little.
- Place the peas in a bowl and pour boiling water over. After 30 seconds, drain and rinse in cold water (this will keep them bright green) then add to cauliflower.
- Slice the fennel very thinly (on a mandoline if you have one), and chop about ⅓ cup of the fronds. Add to the salad with the silverbeet and cashew pieces, then toss well to combine.
- Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until super-smooth. Spoon a little on top of the salad and finish with a few whole cashews to garnish.