Insalata di rinforzo
In the Italian South fresh vegetables are a staple part of the diet. In Naples this salad is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve through to Epiphany, being topped up (rinforzo) with new ingredients added to the bowl.
I find this to be an excellent addition to hot Summer Christmas meals as well. In New Zealand, celery and cauliflower are still available at the farmers' markets, and capers are a year round staple in my pantry. While many versions of this salad exist (so MANY) this one is my favourite. You can tell because once the dish is made, we keep eating it instead of taking "final" photos of the dish.
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan
1 small head cauliflower (or 1/2 large head)
1 handful green olives, sliced into chunks
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
3 sticks celery, sliced on the diagonal
1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
a drizzle excellent quality olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, and cook it in a saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender (2-3 minutes). Drain immediately, refresh in iced water, and drain again.
Put everything into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.