I firmly believe that we eat with our eyes as well as our senses of taste and smell, but that doesn’t mean we can’t throw the occasional visual curve ball and surprise our diners with the odd unexpected looking combination. I’d been at the farmers’ market again, and met one of my old friends – the purple cauliflower! The presence of white fine beans on the same stall gave me an idea for an unusual looking salad to present to our guests alongside the spicy chicken on that evening’s menu. Punnets of fresh broad beans too? We were all set…
First make a punchy vinaigrette dressing with 1 part red wine vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, salt and pepper, and plenty of Dijon mustard. For every four tablespoons of dressing you should add at least one heavily loaded teaspoon of mustard. Cauliflowers love mustard!
Cook the broad beans until al dente and cool in iced water. I don’t always remove the papery white skin of broad beans but here I wanted to make the most of their greenness, so off came the outer skins. It’s a little time consuming but worth the effort.
Steam the cauliflower and the fine beans, again until cooked but retaining some crunch, but tip these into a bowl with the vinaigrette and allow them to cool in the dressing. The occasional toss as they do so won’t hurt. When ready to serve drain the broad beans and add them to the salad, and give the seasoning a final check. Voila. Time for the oohs and ahs from the table.