I often make this salad buying two small cauliflowers and using the stems from both, plus a few florets to make my Cauliflower gratin. I steam most of the tender florets and serve them dressed with my fragrant rosemary-scented vinaigrette. In Greece traditionally we used to boil cauliflower and broccoli in plenty of water –the old-fashioned large ones needed considerably more cooking– but these small tender ones taste better steamed, I think.
1 head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Rosemary blossoms (optional)
1 -2 tablespoons Nigella seeds
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Pare the hard stem of the cauliflower, discarding only the outer layers along with any wilted green leaves. Quarter the cauliflower, separate the florets from the stem and arrange the florets in a basket or colander that can be fitted over a pot (or a steamer, if you have one).
Place the stems in a pot and add water to cover. Sprinkle with some salt and bring to a boil. Place the florets on top, cover and steam for about 15 minutes, or until the florets are tender. The stems should be tender too. If not, boil a few minutes more.
Drain well on paper towels and transfer to a bowl.
Prepare the dressing: In a jar add the olive oil, lemon, mustard, if using, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper, as well as half the chopped rosemary leaves. Close the jar and beat to mix the sauce and pour over the warm cauliflower. Sprinkle with the rest of rosemary and the blossoms, along with the nigella seeds and red pepper flakes, if you like, and serve.