Roasted Cauliflower Salad

From Spencer Wheaton, chef, Mercato

2016 Sep/Oct

This hearty salad hails from Calabria, the southernmost region in Italy, where people like their food salty and spicy, and this dish is both. A great summer insalata, this can be eaten on its own or as a side dish with either meat or fish. Use good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and if you can find it, Calabrian chiles or peperoncino. Use what- ever type of olives you like, but preferably an Italian variety and definitely not pimento stuffed or anything that comes from a can!


  • 1 large cauliflower
  • big pinch of sea salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 Italian olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 anchovy filets, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 t. chile flakes
  • 3 T. capers
  • salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the cauliflower thoroughly, trim off the outer leaves and cut out the core. Using your hands or a knife, break down the whole head into bite-sized florets and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic to the bowl, along with a good pinch of salt and enough oil to coat everything when tossed. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Flip the florets over and roast them for another 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. The best way to determine this is to try one! Remove from the oven and let cool. Put the olives, parsley, onion and anchovy into a large serving bowl and stir to combine well. When the cauliflower is cool, add it to the serving bowl and toss. Add the lemon juice, chile flakes, capers, salt and pepper to taste and as much olive oil as you are willing to part with. In Calabria, the more the better! Give everything another quick toss and serve. Serves 4 to 6.