Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Amazing Thomas Keller - Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

This should be called the Three-Day Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad. As with most Thomas Keller recipes, the main recipe is composed of several sub-recipes. I've retreated from many Keller creations, after scanning the ingredients and coming across the dreaded (see page ...) after a listed ingredient.

However, this salad sounded too good to pass up, despite being referred to page 342 for the Sachet, page 257 for the Pickled Red Onion, page 258 for the Wine-Steeped Golden Raisins, page 182 for the Curry Vinaigrette, and page 342 for the Fried Parsley Leaves. You'll also need to soak the chickpeas overnight, toast the pine nuts, blanch the cauliflower, and crisp the endive. Be sure to have the three kinds of vinegar required, and do your best to track down fresh chickpeas, and red Belgium endive.

The reward is an incredibly stunning and flavorful salad filled with healthy ingredients, all of which have been individually pampered and lovingly seasoned. This is how great chefs create amazing dishes.

Pull this one out of your hat for a dinner party, lavish buffet, or gourmet picnic and you will be a star.

The Reward

There is nothing difficult about preparing this salad, it just takes a little planning and time. The chickpeas can be made 3 days in advance, and the wine steeped raisins and pickled onions keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Star Anise and cloves for the Wine-Steeped Raisins

But only a 1/4 Star Anise and 1 clove

Simmered Red Wine Vinegar and sugar and sliced Red Onions


Fried Parsley Leaves

Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
Slightly adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home
Serves 6


For the Chickpeas:

1 cup (6 ounces) dried chickpeas, or ½ cup dried chickpeas plus 1 cup shelled, blanched fresh chickpeas (I used ½ cup dried and 1 cup organic sugar pea sprouts)
1 Sachet (3 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 10 black peppercorns, 1 smashed garlic clove, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied)
½ medium carrot, split lengthwise
1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), split lengthwise and washed well
¼ wedge yellow onion, root end intact
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Cauliflower:

1 medium head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the rest of the Salad:

¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and sprinkled with Kosher salt
5 ounces (1-2 heads) green Belgium endive
5 ounces (1-2 heads) red Belgium endive (I substituted radicchio)
4 ounces (about 1 cup) pitted, oil-cured Spanish black olives (I used Kalamata)
½ cup pickled red onions (see ingredients and recipe below)
¼ - ½ cup wine steeped raisins (see ingredients and recipe below)
1 tablespoon minced chives
Curry Vinaigrette (see ingredients and recipe below)
¼ cup Fried Parsley Leaves (see ingredients and recipe below)
Freshly ground black pepper


On day one, I started soaking the chickpeas. On day two, I cooked the chickpeas and prepared the wine steeped raisins and picked red onions. On day three, I finished preparing the other ingredients and served the salad. BE SURE TO READ THROUGH ENTIRE RECIPE(S) A COUPLE OF TIMES and plan your preparation accordingly.


Put the dried chickpeas in a bowl with 4 cups water and soak overnight. Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a medium saucepan. Cover the chickpeas with cold water, so that the water is about 2 inches above the chickpeas. Add the carrot, leek, onion, and sachet. Bring water to a gentle simmer and cook the chickpeas for about 40 minutes, until tender. Transfer the chickpeas with their liquid to a bowl, remove the sachet and vegetables, stir in the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste (the chickpeas can be refrigerated in their liquid for up to three days).

Wine Steeped Golden Raisins

1 cup golden raisins
¼ star anise
1 whole clove
½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

Combine the raisins, star anise, and clove in a jar. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan, pour over the raisins, and allow to cool to room temperature. Let stand for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to one month. Remove the star anise and clove before serving.

Pickled Red Onions

2 medium red onions
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
¾ cup granulated sugar

Cut off the top and bottom of each onion and cut lengthwise in half. Remove and discard the outer layer. Place the onion cut side down and slice lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick slices. Pack the onion slices into a 1-quart canning jar or other suitable container that can be covered.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot vinegar over the onion slices and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or for up to one month.


Cut out the core of the cauliflower and remove the leaves. Cut the cauliflower into florets and trim the stems. The florets should not be larger than a 50-cent piece or smaller than a quarter. In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the vinegar and cauliflower, and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Lift out the florets with a slotted spoon, spread on a tray to cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Curry Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons Madras curry powder (we felt it needed maybe 3 teaspoons)
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1-½ cups canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spread the curry powder in a small pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (about 5-10 minutes)
Whisk together the vinegar and curry powder in a bowl, Whisk in the oil, stir in the garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to two weeks.

Fried Parsley Leaves

¼ cup parsley leaves
Peanut or canola oil

Heat 1 inch of peanut or canola oil to 350 degrees F in a small pot. Add the parsley leaves, in small batches, and cook for about 2 seconds. Remove immediately to a paper towel to drain, and season lightly with salt. Use as soon as possible.

Preparing and Assembling the Final Salad

Cut off about ¼ inch of the bottom of each endive and remove the leaves that come loose. Continue trimming a tiny bit off the bottom to release the leaves. Stack the leaves a few at a time on a cutting board and slice on a 45-degree angle into thin ¼-inch slices. Put the endive in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to crisp it and prevent it from turning brown. Drain and spin in a salad spinner.

Put the cauliflower and endive in a large bowl, and add the olives, pickled onions, pine nuts, raisins, and chives. Toss with ¼ cup vinaigrette, and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Drain the chickpeas and add to the salad. Toss with another ¼ cup vinaigrette. Taste, and add more vinaigrette if needed.

Spoon the salad into serving bowls and garnish with fried parsley.



Mom said...

You are a star! What an amazing salad. It was a delightful journey savoring each little colorful morsel bathed in that wonderful Curry Vinaigrette. And those Wine Steeped Golden Raisins were unbelievable. Loved it. . . and maybe even more the next day. Thanks, Denise.

Mary Hirsch said...

Denise, Like your Mom says, you are a star. I have all Keller's cookbooks sitting in front of my fire place. I love reading them, especial the Ad Hoc. I once made a soup out of his French Laundry Cookbook and I swear it took me four days! I may try this. It sound delicious and I appreciate having your pictures to source! Mary