Roast cauliflower and bread salad
This recipe was created by Sharon Conrad, our community cook at Wolves Lane. She's a Registered Associate Nutritionist and teaches cooking skills across London.
Cauliflower has been making a comeback in recent years and is used far more imaginatively in the kitchen whether roasted, stir fried, pulsed into ‘rice’ or eaten raw dipped into a punchy dressing. To best preserve its high Vitamin C content avoid boiling and don’t discard the outer leaves but use them as an alternative green in stir fries or curries.
The salad below champions the regular white cauliflower but would also be great with green, purple or the incredible Romanesco variety whose form and spiral shapes never cease to amaze me. This recipe is also good for using up bread that may not be at its best but is too good to waste.
4-5 tbsp olive oil
250g bread, such as sourdough, torn into small chunks
5 garlic cloves, 2 crushed and 3 finely sliced
4 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
50g black olives, roughly chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed of salt or brine
4 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
5 radishes, finely sliced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
juice of ½ -1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6 and line a large roasting tin or baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Remove the tough outer leaves of the cauliflower and keep the smaller more tender ones. Break the cauliflower into small florets and finely slice the stems, discarding any really tough bits and place in a large bowl with the tender leaves. Pour over 2 tbsp of the oil, sprinkle over the crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good mix up with your hands or a large spoon until the cauliflower is well covered and then pour into the lined tin. Sprinkle over 3 tbsp of warm water and place on the top shelf of the oven. Cook for approx. 12-15mins until the cauliflower is just tender and the edges are beginning to brown. Set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the bread chunks over a medium heat until golden all over – don’t over crowd the pan, fry in batches if it’s easier and keep it moving. Put all the golden bread back into the pan and add the garlic and anchovies (if using) to the pan, with another tablespoon of oil if necessary and fry for a further 2 mins, until the garlic is golden.
Tip the bread mixture into a wide serving bowl and add the olives, capers and parsley.
Add the cauliflower to the bowl together with the radishes, vinegar and the juice of ½ lemon and toss everything together. Season carefully with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste to see if you need more lemon juice, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and serve warm or at room temperature.