Cauliflower Salad is a raw vegetable make-ahead salad suitable for a warm weeknight. The recipe comes originally from Recipes from “Round the World”, a 1939 cookbook published by the McNess company. The cookbook compiles recipes from varied countries, as the title implies, presented in their native languages alongside an English translation. Cauliflower Salad claims its heritage from Germany, translated from a recipe for Blumenkohlsalat. I’m admittedly no expert on German cuisine, but I can’t find another recipe that even remotely resembles this one. Even on German language websites. It may have fallen out of fashion in the past ninety years, or may simply have been the product of an American test kitchen.
Whatever its origins, Cauliflower Salad is unique. Perhaps a distant cousin to cole slaw, but quite different overall. The recipe calls for grated cauliflower, which crumbles into tiny pieces. When mixed with cream and lemon juice, the texture is almost a puree. It looks like the sort of thing that would be smeared across a plate at a fancy restaurant. Tastewise you get the bite of the uncooked cauliflower, tempered only slightly by the cream. The acid and salt are subtle, leaving you with a fresh vegetable vibe more than anything else.
Preparation is straightforward. Cauliflower is grated into very fine pieces. The English translation calls for a ‘food chopper’ but the German Raffel seems more like a cheese grater. A food processor would be a suitable alternative. The cauliflower bits are mixed with cream and lemon juice. Stir, salt, and garnish. That’s it. Maybe 15 minutes start to finish. It will take you twice as long to clean up the cauliflower bits all over your kitchen. The end product looks and tastes like a mild prepared horseradish.
Cauliflower Salad pairs especially well with cured meats. Perhaps it is German after all. I served Cauliflower Salad with a Ham and Noodle casserole. Sausages or charcuterie would work equally well. I can also see this as a luncheon salad with a toasted ham sandwich. Enjoy!
- Grate cauliflower with a cheese grater or potato ricer, both the head and the meristem. Alternatively, chop fine with a food processor.
- Mix in whipping cream a little bit at a time until the cauliflower bits are moistened. Add the juice from the lemon and salt to taste.
- Serve right away or refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Top with thinly sliced green onions.
Fresh herbs or chopped chives also make a good garnish.