Insalata di Rinforzo 

January 12, 2021

In Naples this enticing winter salad is traditionally served to accompany Christmas Eve Dinner.

Insalata  di Rinforzo in other words: Reinforcing Salad takes it’s name from the belief of being reinvigorating. It is based on a boiled or steamed cauliflower and pickled vegetables, in Italy simply called „La Gardiniera”. 

You should leave the salad in the fridge for a few hours allowing for the individual flavours to permeate and then bring it to the room temperature before serving. 

I actually like eating it almost immediately whilst the cauliflower is still slightly warm enhancing the aromatic notes of the olive oil. 

Recently I reacquainted myself with my griddle pan and for this salad I like to grill sliced and brushed with olive oil peppers* and then drizzle them ever so slightly with red wine vinegar.

The quantities of the ingredients below are more of an indication and can be adjusted to your personal liking.

Serves 4:

  • 1 cauliflower, washed and separated into florets 
  • 2 tablespoons of small pickled cucumbers, roughly chopped or sliced
  • a handful of olives in oil, stones removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 large pickled pepper*, sliced (I like to mix yellow and orange peppers)
  • 2 teaspoons of capers in salt, pre-soaked in cold water for about 40 minutes, roughly chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets (optional), roughly chopped 
  • olive oil
  • salt 
  • red or white wine vinegar  (personally I prefer red wine vinegar)

Boil the cauliflower florets in salted water until just tender. Don’t boil it for too long, it should not be falling apart.

Drain and allow to cool down a little.

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently. 

Cover generously with olive oil, some vinegar (not too much) and season with a pinch of salt.

Toss everything again and leave covered in a fridge for a few hours.

Bring to room temperature, taste and season again (if there is a need for it)  before serving.