History of the side salad

When Christmas approaches, it’s all about organizing antipasti e holiday menu con typical recipes of regional or family traditions. So there are those who celebrate with fish dinner on Christmas Eve e tortellini in broth for the Christmas lunch, but what happens in Naples? L’side salad it cannot be missed to start the most important lunch of the year. Here you are history, curiosities and variations of the Neapolitan recipe for reinforcement salad.

What is reinforcement salad

It is a real one cold salad made with boiled cauliflower. To these must be added olives, pickles, capers and anchovies. The reinforcement salad is then dressed with red wine vinegar, oil and salt. In the original version, the papacellea typical fiery red Campania pepper that has a sweet and aromatic taste.

History of the side salad

It’s about a very old recipe dating back to 1800. The fact that it has such an unusual name makes one disagree various popular beliefs. The first claims that it is so called in the name of the Christmas abundance which wants that every time the ingredients of this preparation are gradually running out, the salad itself must be “reinforced” with new ingredients and new quantities. The second popular belief instead asserts that, being a salad that accompanies all winter holidays and not just Christmas, this preparation must be reinforced with new ingredients until New Year’s Eve. Much more probable is the fact that vinegar, anchovies and capersbeing very tasty ingredients, they enhance and therefore reinforce the delicate flavor of the cauliflower which is one of the poorest winter vegetables.

Curiosity about the reinforcement salad

Some elders claimed that the reinforcement salad should go to “strengthen” poor Christmas Eve dinners, but the truth about the name of this recipe will remain a mystery forever. However, to prepare one good side salad you will have to boil the cauliflowers without making them too soft. In fact, they must be crunchy when chewed, which is why it is important to boil them for about ten minutes and then drain them in cold water. As for pickled vegetables, it would always be better to prepare one home made gardener. The side salad can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish, but it can also be placed in the center of the table at the beginning of the meal and leave the diners free to use it independently at the right moment.

Variants of the side salad

You can add the reinforcement salad between the vegan appetizers simply eliminating the anchovies, or serve it in gourmet version with a nice single portion plating. If you are not a cauliflower lover, you can replace it with Romanesco cauliflower or broccoli, but remember that this recipe must always be based on a seasonal vegetable. Eliminating pickles and red wine vinegar in the dressing, the reinforcement salad can become an excellent sauce for a pasta.


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