For some reason I have more distinct memories of Thanksgiving dinners than I do of any other holiday. Hilarious, huge meals prepared with our American friends Paul and Kira (who introduced us to the wonder of sweet potato pie), a melancholy meal of egg rolls and champagne at The Hotel Meurice in Paris when I used to cover the runway collections and the Thanksgiving pizza we had with friends a few days after Julian was born last year. This year I'm doing it up big. Well, actually, I already did it up big a week early so I could prepare this post. Thanks again to Heidi and Andrew for coming over for a test run! I'm doing it up big again for the actual holiday.
Since readers of SPC are going to be getting two helpings of Thanksgiving — one Canadian and one American, both delicious — I thought I'd offer up something a little different. As much as I love the traditional meal, I was looking for a way to lighten things up. This salad still feels like a fall dish but it's a nice antidote to stuffing and mashed potatoes. The oven is already on if you're roasting a turkey so it's easy to pop the cauliflower in.
1 head of cauliflower cleaned and cut into small florets
1 head romaine lettuce cleaned and cut into thin strips
6 or 7 leaves of radicchio cleaned and cut into thin strips
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 shallots minced handful of hazelnuts chopped not too rough (I used walnuts and they were fine, hazelnuts would have been so much better)
salt and pepper
Method Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the cauliflower florets in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour into a shallow roasting pan and place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Turn and toss once or twice. The cauliflower should start to brown and be quite soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a jar place oil, vinegar, shallots and salt and pepper and shake. Dress your lettuce lightly in the dressing and arrange in a bowl or on a platter. Drizzle some dressing over the cauliflower and toss. Arrange the dressed cauliflower on the lettuce. Sprinkle nuts on top. Maude is a salad eater and loved this but even kids who won't touch lettuce — Esme– like this for the cauliflower which smells amazing when roasted.