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An Any-Weather, Any-Night Roasted Cauliflower Salad From Our New Book

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The 80-degree temperatures earlier this week have sent my cooking compass into a swivet. I’m not quite ready to shut off the oven or to turn on the grill, but I wouldn’t mind dining outside. I’m ready for all of the spring produce—asparagus, radishes, ramps, favas—but I know (at least up here in upstate New York) they’re weeks away from hitting the markets. I’m tired of stews, but not ready for gazpacho.

Stamped Copy: Food52 Mighty Salads From $23
Stamped Copy: Food52 Mighty Salads

So when I saw this lentil salad with roasted cauliflower and radicchio in the new Food52 Mighty Salads, I thought: this is exactly what I want to be eating right now. It’s warm meets cool, tender meets crisp, winter meets spring (thanks to a tarragon shower at the end). I made it two nights in a row after discovering it, and have made several variations since. It holds up beautifully in the fridge, and every time I make it, I have a hard time on subsequent mornings not dipping into the leftovers by 10 a.m., willing the lunch hour to arrive sooner. It’s so satisfying.

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Photo by Alexandra Stafford

Now, don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list here. The whole salad, which is a meal, can be assembled in about the time it takes to roast the cauliflower. Note, too, this isn’t a hands-off-once-the-vegetables-are-roasting process. Emily Connor, longtime Food52er and creator of many of the book's mighty salads, keeps you busy: first you put on a pot of lentils, which will finish cooking at about the same time as the cauliflower. While the lentils simmer, you toast walnuts, and then you make a dressing of minced anchovies, shallots, mustard, honey, balsamic, and oil. It’s sharp, sweet, and textured, too, due to a handful of currants you whisk directly into the dressing.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

After you’ve made this once, the assembly becomes second nature: roast vegetables, cook lentils, make a dressing, chop herbs and nuts, crumble in goat cheese. And once your prep is done, you may even find time to tidy up your kitchen or to toast a second batch of nuts, if say, you burn the first (oops). You may also have time to briefly macerate the shallots and the anchovies in the vinegar to draw out a little more of their flavor—not that this salad wants for anything more.

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Lentil Salad with Roasted Radicchio & Cauliflower

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Serves 4

For the Salad:

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  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (450 g), see notes above
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf, if you have it
  • 1/3 cup walnuts or more to taste
  • 1 head radicchio, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 ounces goat cheese

For the Dressing:

  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons currants or more to taste

Tags: mightly salads, spring