Monday, July 22, 2013

Pickled Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Dressing

Pickled Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Dressing

Pickled Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Dressing
Pickled Vegetable Salad with Anchovy Dressing 

I had to think about this one for a long time before trying it. I know you will too, because it is “pickled” and a bit complicated. But what an amazing treat! You will absolutely not believe how truly fantastic this salad can be.  And so very different for the usual humdrum greens, cut-up what-evers usually served. If you’re one of those people who saw the word “pickled” in the title and said “Ugh, no, sorry, not for me,” fight the good fight because once your tastes cross over to the vinegar side, there’s little going back. Once you have tasted the triple-threat crunch/sweet/salty of a pickled anything, the food landscape can seem bleak without them. A big added plus to this recipe is the many ways to use the component parts. You can use pickled red onions on your tacos, sandwiches, on top of omelets, pickled carrots in the fridge whenever the mood strikes, pickled cauliflower as part of a an appetizer spread with fresh tomatoes, olives, flatbreads and hummus. They are also tasty cuddled up to some grilled meat. There is just no shortage of ideas. And if that were not enough reason to jump in and give it a try, all pickled bits can be stored in the frig for a whole month.
Pickled veggies for the salad
This recipe is divided up into first providing a list of each ingredient. Then, the individual component part recipes are listed….followed by putting the whole "enchilada" together!

Basic Pickling Liquid – makes about 1¾ C
  • 1 C champagne vinegar
  • ½ C granulated sugar
  • ½ C water 

Pickled carrots
  • 10 medium carrots or 20 baby carrots, peeled
  • ½ tsp yellow curry powder or Madras curry powder
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded
  • Basic Pickling Liquid 

Pickled Cauliflower
  • ½ tsp piment d’Espelette (substitute: hot paprika)
  • Basic Pickling Liquid
  • 4 C of ¾ inch cauliflower florets (about the diameter of a quarter) from about 1½ lbs. cauliflower

Pickled Red Onion (see previous posted recipe 5/27/13) makes about 4 C
  • 2 large red onions (about 1¼ lbs each)
  • 1½ C red wine vinegar
  • ¾ C granulated sugar

Anchovy Dressing
  • 1 salt-packed anchovy, filleted or 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, or to taste
  • ¼ C whole milk
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tb champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 C Aioli
  • 2 Tb buttermilk
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Torn Croutons
  • 1 loaf country bread
  • Garlic oil
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter

The Rest
  • Parmesan cheese – shaved
  • Salami – cut (optional, but really loved the flavor addition!)

“Basic Pickling Liquid”
Basic pickling liquid is 2 parts vinegar to 1 part sugar to 1 part water – it can be scaled up easily for larger quantities of vegetables. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and process as described below with each of the vegetables.

Pickled Carrots – makes 2 C
Cut medium carrots on the diagonal into 2-inch sections and then cut the sections lengthwise in half. Trim green tops of baby carrots to about ¼” and cut carrots in half lengthwise.

Put the curry powder in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1-1½ min or until fragrant. Be careful – the curry burns easily.

Add the carrots, jalapeno and pickling liquid to the curry, bring to a simmer, stirring from time to time to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a container and let the carrots cool in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate up to one month.
Pickled carrots. Note size of the cut veggies
Pickled Cauliflower
Add the Espelette to the pickling liquid and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and blanche for 4 minutes, until crisp-tender; it should still be slightly resistant to tooth. Drain and transfer the cauliflower to a canning jar or other storage container. Pour the pickling liquid over the top. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to a month.
Pickled cauliflower
Pickled Red Onion – makes about 4 C
Also featured in recipe posted 5/27/13 Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad with Curry Vinaigrette:

Cut off the top and bottom of each onion and cut lengthwise in half.  Remove and discard the outer layer. Cut a V-shaped wedge from the bottom of each half to remove the roots and the very centerpieces of onion. Place the onion cut side down and slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch thick slices following the natural lines of the onion. Pack the onion slices into a 1-quart canning jar or other suitable container that can be covered. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot vinegar over the onion slices and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or for up to one month.
Pickled red onion....OMG these are good on sooo many things!
Anchovy Dressing – makes 1 ¼ C
Put the anchovies in a small bowl and pour milk over them. Soak the anchovies for 30 minutes (Soaking will give them a sweeter flavor). Drain the anchovies. Chop coarsely and transfer to a small food processor. Add the garlic, vinegar, mustard and puree. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the aioli and buttermilk. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to a week.

Torn Croutons
Cut the crusts off the loaf of bread. Tear the bread into irregular pieces no larger than 2 inches. Pour 1/8 inch of garlic olive oil into a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan. Add the butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling, but if you hear sizzling, the heat is too high. Adjust the heat and stir the croutons often as they cook. Cook until they are crisp and a beautiful rich golden brown on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Move the croutons to one side of the pan, and keep them warm until ready to serve. Do not drain on paper towels; you want the flavors of the oil intermingled with the other ingredients as you eat the croutons in a salad.  Torn croutons should be used the day they are made; you can reheat them in a love oven before serving if necessary.

Cooking the croutons
Croutons....finished product 

Cooking the torn pieces of bread very, very slowly is the key to these garlicky croutons. When toasted over high heat, croutons become a little dry; these absorb the oil and butter through the slow cooking, and result is a crouton that are very crunchy but bursting with flavor of the oil when you bite into them.

Assembling the final product
The plan is fairly simple – make each of the component pickled parts – once a day over a few days or all at once. Store in the fridge, make the dressing (amazing in its own right!) a day or two ahead of serving and the torn croutons just before serving.  For a pure veggie salad, you can leave out the cut salami. I like to place the components on a large platter with the dressing on the side so guests can take what they want and add dressing to suit. But one could also serve individually by dishing it up. 
Individual components before mixing. Great way to present.
Once on the plate, mix that scrumptious dressing about – and ready those taste buds for the upcoming sensation.
So yummy!!
I thought about this one for quite awhile and then sprung it on some good friends over for a relaxing weekend dinner. We all loved it. You will too….really. Think about it and then do it. Thank me later. 


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