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Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce

This classic vegetable salad, piquant from the generous dressing of capers, olives, and lemon, was a staple of my childhood. I have varied the way I make it over the years, sometimes adding cornichons and different herbs, but my friends and family seem always to love this version best.
Serves 6


    • 1 large head cauliflower
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • juice of 1/2 lemon

    • 3 tablespoons drained small capers or coarsely chopped large capers
    • 1/4 cup pitted gaeta olives, cut into quarters
    • 1 bunch scallions. white part and 1 inch of green only, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
    • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Pour enough water into a saucepan to cover the cauliflower generously and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, trim the stalks off the cauliflower and cut off the hard base and discard. Remove the core and separate the cauliflower into florets. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water along with the salt and lemon juice (the lemon juice will help the cauliflower to retain its color). Cover, return to a boil, and continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 5 to 7 minutes. Take care, as cauliflower goes from undercooked to overcooked very quickly.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to blend.

3. When the cauliflower is cooked, drain it, immediately plunge it into cold water to stop further cooking, and drain again. While it is still warm, toss it with the dressing in a salad bowl. Adjust seasoning for taste and serve.


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