While I used Castelvetrano olives in this cauliflower and olive salad recipe, feel free to substitute other olives. Castelvetrano olives are well-known for their mild flavor, so if you prefer a stronger olive presence, go with a bolder olive. If you have trouble tracking down Castelvetrano olives, you may consider substituting Manzanilla green olives. It will add more olive flavor, but it works so, so nicely with fennel and orange.
Because I don’t drink much orange juice, I bought a large navel orange for this recipe. I squeezed it for the juice, and then, I used a paring knife to remove part of the outer layer for the orange zest. Nothing like fresh juice and fresh zest!
Cauliflower and Olive Salad
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp + ⅓ cup olive oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
1-2 tsp orange zest, finely chopped
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup Castelvetrano olives (or the olive of your choice, maybe Manzanilla)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and blanch the cauliflower for 20 seconds. Remove from the pot, and rinse with cold water immediately. Set aside.
2. In a skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, shallot and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes over low heat and stir around to keep the shallots and garlic from burning. Spoon into a large mixing bowl.
3. In the mixing bowl, add white whine vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, parsley, the remaining ⅓ cup of olive oil, salt and black pepper. Whisk until well combined, and taste and adjust seasonings (does it need more salt? more vinegar?).
4. Add cauliflower and fennel to the mixing bowl, and combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve.