Most of the time, despite my being Italian, I prefer a light, quick-to-assemble lunch; a salad often, or a soup (cooked in advance). Preferably vegetables anyway. I really like to stock up on vegetables a couple of times a week and then open the fridge in the morning to figure out what kind of salad I will have at lunchtime. Sometimes I through in a poached or boiled egg, sometimes some smoked salmon or feta cheese, maybe some quinoa as well. Sometimes it is just vegetables with a slice of toasted bread. Sometimes I like a leafy green salad, other times I prefer steamed root vegetables with home made mayonaise. Occasionally I combine cooked and raw vegetables, even warm and cold.
I haven't always been a fan of raw vegetables, mind you. Some of them I didn't even think could be eaten uncooked. One day, a few years ago, though, as I was leaving her house, a friend asked if I liked cauliflower. My answer was shyly positive - I would react with much more enthusiasm nowadays - and she handed me a beautiful, fresh, healthy cauliflower. "You can also eat it raw, you know" she said. A whole new world opened up for me: raw cauliflower? I was so intrigued I tried it right away that very evening. It was so so good. Crunchy and sweet, it had nothing to do with the overcooked cauliflowers I had tasted that far. Dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, it quickly became a favorite.
Yesterday I opened the fridge and thought what about a white salad? I had cauliflower, fennel and white beans. And some black Taggiasca olives for some color. The combination was more than perfect, I kept it light, with vegetables and beans only, but I think canned tuna or a boiled egg might have been a good addition.
WHITE SALAD (for a single serving)
- almost 1 cup cauliflower florets
- half a small fennel, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup canned white beans (rinsed)
- 1/4 cup Taggiasca olives
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- a drizzle of olive oil
Combine cauliflower, fennel, beans and olives in a bowl or plate. Dress with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Enjoy with toasted bread.