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Catholic Recipe: Insalata di Rinforzo

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cauliflower, washed, drained
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 red bell peppers, julenne strips (may also used canned pepper strips in vinegar)
  • 3 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots, cut on the bias into 1/4" thick pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut on the bias into 1/2" thick pieces
  • 16 whole cippolline (Italian baby onions or substitute small onions)
  • 1 x fennel bulb cut 1/4" strips (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (or 18) Gaeta black olives, pitted or oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • 1/3 cup capers, rinsed and dried
  • 3/4 cup (or 18) large green olives, pitted
  • 4 salt-packed anchovies, washed and filleted, or 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and cut into pieces (canned tuna could be substituted)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (more if desired)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Artichokes packed in oil (optional)
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • Details

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty:
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin: Naples, Italy

Also Called: Reinforcement Salad

This vegetable salad, an antipasto, is called rinforzo because Neapolitans eat it daily from Christmas Eve to Epiphany and add or reinforce the ingredients each day. A nice recipe to serve all year round, and to remember our saints from the Naples - Campania region of Italy. The basic ingredients are cauliflower, black olives, anchovies, capers and pickled vegetables in oil and vinegar, but you can add or subtract to your tastes.

DIRECTIONS

Fill a large saucepan with water; add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Lower the cauliflower gently into the water. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Test the cauliflower; it should be al dente, not overcooked. Drain, cool, and break into flowerets.

In a large pot, add 1 quart hot water, 3 cups white wine vinegar, salt, fennel seeds (optional) and garlic and bring to a boil. Drop the carrots, celery, cippolline and fennel (optional) into the water and vinegar solution and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the vegetables and garlic. Refresh all in an ice bath and drain well.

In a large mixing bowl, place the cauliflower, cooked vegetables, garlic, anchovies (or tuna), both kinds of olives and the red vinegar, lemon juice and oil. At this point you may also add other pickled vegetables and/or artichokes. Season with salt and pepper, toss well to mix and arrange on a platter with the olives and anchovies near the top. Let salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, but remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Slice the hard boil eggs to garnish the top and serve.

Recipe Source: Information from Various Websites
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