Recipe: Pickled Cauliflower, Goat Feta, and Oregano Vinaigrette Salad

Photo by Even Sung, courtesy of Harper Collins

This scrumptious salad recipe, courtesy of Chef Dan Kluger, is just as delicious as a side dish as it is for a lighter lunch during the week.

Makes 4–6 servings

This is my take on a Greek chopped salad. The dressing reminds me of my mother, who would always have a simple vinaigrette made from oil, vinegar, garlic, and dried oregano on hand. I add a touch of elderflower syrup to my dressing, which is also a nod to my mom and the trips we took to visit her family in England. I discovered elderflower syrup there and fell in love with its floral aroma and honeyed flavor. You can probably find the syrup at your local gourmet store (my favorite brand is d’Arbo), or you can order it online.

Chopped Salad with Pickled Cauliflower, Goat Feta, and Oregano Vinaigrette
Photo by Even Sung, courtesy of Harper Collins

Pickled Cauliflower

Makes about 2 cups
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1¼ cups white wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Place the cauliflower in a sterilized pint-size jar. In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling mixture over the cauliflower, seal the jar, and let sit for at least 30 minutes before using. The pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Oregano Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp elderflower syrup or 1 tbsp plus 1½ tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red finger chile (with seeds)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped oregano leaves

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, elderflower syrup (or honey), chile, garlic, orange zest, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Stir in the oregano.

For Serving:

  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1 head Bibb, Boston, or Little Gem lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 8 medium red globe radishes, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small kohlrabi, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • Oregano vinaigrette
  • 4 oz goat’s milk feta, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 cup Pickled Cauliflower
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the radicchio into four wedges, then chop each wedge into 2-inch pieces, discarding the core. Do the same with the lettuce. Wash the greens and spin dry.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the lettuce mixture with the carrot, turnip, radishes, and kohlrabi. Pour about ½ cup vinaigrette down the side of the bowl and gently toss the salad with your hands until it’s lightly coated. Taste and add more vinaigrette if desired and toss again.

Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl or individual salad bowls and top with the crumbled feta, parsley, and pickled cauliflower. Sprinkle with flaky salt, grind some black pepper over the top, and serve.

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CHEF’S TIPI don’t like the funky flavor of raw cauliflower, but it makes an amazing pickle. I reached into the Indian spice cabinet to flavor my pickled cauliflower, which adds little pops of big flavor—not only to this salad, but in tacos, in slaws, or as the shining yellow star of a pickle plate.

From the book CHASING FLAVOR, Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly by Dan Kluger. Copyright © 2020 by Daniel Kluger. Copyright photographs © 2020 by Evan Sung. Reprinted by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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