Catholic Recipe: Insalata di Rinforzo
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.
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