Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Bread Crumbs

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Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Bread CrumbsBread crumbs give this crunchy one-skillet dish, which has roots in southern Italy, plenty of body. This is delicious with panfried eggplant (page 161) or grilled zucchini (see page 167). The steam-searing technique is handy for all sorts of vegetables.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs (preferably fresh, see page 678)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large cauliflower (1½–2 pounds), cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
How to Make It
  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley, and transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
  2. Wipe out the skillet, return it to medium-high heat, and add the remaining oil. When it’s hot, add the cauliflower, sprinkle with salt, add 1 cup water, and quickly cover the pan. Cook, shaking occasionally, until you can barely pierce a floret with a sharp knife, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the cover, scatter the onion over all, and cook, undisturbed, until the water evaporates and the cauliflower starts to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir once or twice and transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes to cool.
  3. Add the olives, vinegar, and about ½ cup of the crumbs. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more olive oil if you’d like. Toss again and serve, passing the remaining crumbs at the table.
  5. Omit the olives and vinegar. Zest and juice 1 lemon. In Step 1, add ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese and the lemon zest to the bread crumbs along with the parsley. In Step 3, add the lemon juice to the cauliflower before tossing.

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