My first job out of culinary school was working as a Garde Manger, a fancy French name for the chef of cold foods such as appetizers, salads, sandwiches, etc. It is an entry-level position that is offered to most recent culinary graduates. During my short stint working as a Garde Manger, I became an expert at making salads. Making salads is all about balance and creating layers of textures. I loved adding fresh seasonal produce in the salads: artichokes in the spring, peaches in the summer, roasted butternut squash during the fall, and persimmons in the winter. It was a fun challenge to incorporate seasonal ingredients and come up with new salad ideas.
In the spirit of the holidays, I offer you a lovely seasonal salad highlighting cauliflowers and pomegranate seeds. This vegetarian salad is crunchy, sweet, tart, and nutty. It’s also very pretty with Christmas colors of white, red and green. It’s a perfect salad to serve at your holiday meal or to take to a holiday potluck, as it will offset some of the greasy and heavy food at the table. Make sure you keep the toasted almonds, pomegranate seeds and dressing separate if taking to a party and assemble it on site. Enjoy!
Cauliflower, Arugula, and Pomegranate Salad
Serving Size: 6-8
12 ounces of organic cauliflower (about 1/2 head)
2 ounces of arugula leaves
1/2 cup of golden raisins
2/3 cup of pomegranate seeds*
1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings
1/3 cup of sliced almonds, toasted**
Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Slice the cauliflower into 1/4 inch pieces. You can use a mandolin, if you have one, to create uniform slices. Place them in a large salad bowl.
2. Add the arugula, golden raisins, pomegranate seeds, Parmigiano-reggiano cheese, and the almonds.
3. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss lightly, making sure you don’t bruise the arugula. You may not need to use all of the dressing.
4. Serve immediately.
*You can find pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe’s. They did all the hard work for us.
** Toast raw almond slices in the oven at 350° for 5-8 minutes
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons of Dijon Mustard*
2 teaspoons of honey
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Freshly grated black pepper
1. Add all the ingredients in a mason jar or a dressing jar.
2. Top with lid and shake until the dressing is emulsified and not separated. (Alternatively, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until emulsified.)
3. If not using right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Trois Petits Cochon’s Dijon mustard not too spicy, so it is wonderful to add to dressings.