Slightly Rebellious Holiday Food, Continued
Try this Mexican cauliflower with guacamole; plus: baked artichoke dip!
EVER SINCE I MADE DIANA KENNEDY’S CAULIFLOWER SALAD, in this issue, I’ve been haunted by simple blanched broccoli—even though we are living in the bedazzled age of cauliflower “steaks,” and grandly presented, whole roasted heads, and cauliflower rice, and on and on and on.
We put a lot of culinary weight on cauliflower’s shoulders. Pardon me if I trot this out again:
But cauliflower recipe I have for you today employs cauliflower at its most basic. Here at the Department of Salad, I guess we just like to zig when others zag. (At least, that’s our excuse for being giant nerds.)
Anyway, I think what made that earlier Diana Kennedy salad so memorable to me (aside from olives and avocado and queso fresco on the same plate) was that the dressing gave it a semi-pickled quality that I couldn’t stop eating. It’s a great salad, and if you haven’t made it I insist that you do so once things settle down, holiday-wise.
But I put off making today’s beguiling cauliflower contraption. It worried me a bit when I first read about it: cauliflower blanched with anise and served with a blanket of guacamole. It sounded, quite frankly, blah. And then I remembered that I thought unkind things about the amazing avocado-olive-cauliflower salad the first time I came across it, too
I’m glad I forged ahead. Kennedy came across the dish, Coliflor en Aguacate, in a 1911 cookbook, “Recetas de Covina”; it was intended as a sauced dish. Kennedy, however, suggests serving it as a dip. It’s wonderful, and I’m encouraging you to take my advice and serve it as a holiday appetizer—especially if you have vegan or vegetarian friends and family who politely leave room when you bring out your flaming hot sausage dip.
And since I’m here, tossing around dips, I am going to give you my favorite easy baked artichoke dip, which I’ve been making since the 90s and which I will often cite when people erroneously believe cooking mayonnaise will kill you. (It’s the dip I’m referring to in this very early issue, starring my friend Mary Norris and also featuring my late grandmother’s blender mayonnaise.
People seem to believe that mayonnaise is dangerous. I once took the world’s greatest hot baked dip to a party and a woman asked me what was in it. Artichokes, parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, I said. Her mouth was a sudden O, and she turned to her husband and said: Don’t eat the artichoke dip. With me standing right there.
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