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Neapolitan Christmas Salad - Insalata di Rinforzo
Neapolitan Christmas Salad
Neapolitan Christmas Salad
This zesty cauliflower salad is commonly served in Neapolitan homes during the Christmas season.
Every family has its own variation.  Cauliflower, olives, anchovies, and capers are the main ingredients but the other ingredients, as well as the proportions, can be varied to suit your taste. Giardiniera is also sometimes added to the salad. Some people say that the salad is called insalata di rinforzo or reinforcement salad because it was customary to make the first batch as an antipasto on Christmas Eve and continue to stretch or reinforce it by adding more cauliflower and other ingredients over the course of the holiday season. Others say it was served as a hearty vegetable reinforcement to the traditionally modest seafood meal served on Christmas Eve. 

One head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3-4 pickled or roasted red peppers, cut into strips
A handful each of green and black olives
A small red onion, cut into slivers
A few tablespoons of capers
A few tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
White wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
A small can of anchovies


Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water for 10 minutes. Rinse the florets under cold water to stop the cooking and let them drain in a colander until dry.

Place the florets in a large serving bowl.  Add the red pepper strips, olives, red onion, capers, and parsley. 

Dress the ingredients with some white wine vinegar and olive oil  (about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil).  Season with salt and pepper.  Gently stir to coat all the ingredients with the dressing.   Arrange the anchovies on top.  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to develop. 
Serve cold.
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