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In this dish, I crumble the raw cauliflower so that it has the look and texture of couscous—it’s easy and unexpected and makes you think of cauliflower in a whole new way. If you can’t find dried tart cherries, use golden raisins or even chopped dried apricots; the idea is to have a sweet-tart and chewy element as contrast to the granular vegetable. And be sure to dress and season this salad generously. Underdressed, it risks being dry.
Serves 4 to 6
Put the dried cherries and vinegar in a small bowl and leave to plump for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the nuts on a pan in a single layer. Bake until you smell the nuttiness and the color is deepening slightly, 6 to 8 minutes for most whole nuts. Transfer to a bowl and let cool; then roughly chop half and more finely chop the other half.
If the cauliflower still has outer leaves and they look fresh, chop them. Cut the stem from the cauliflower and cut the head into small florets. Chop the stem into small chunks.
Add some of the stem chunks to a food processor; don’t fill beyond halfway. Pulse to chop the stems finely, scraping down the sides a couple of times, and then dump into a large bowl. Finish processing the stems this way, and then do the same with the florets. The goal is to create dry, crumbly cauliflower bits that resemble couscous.
Add the scallions to the bowl with the cauliflower. Add the cherries and soaking vinegar and toss to mix well. Season with the sumac, chile flakes, 2 tsp. salt, and generous twists of black pepper. Taste and adjust the salt, chile flakes, and vinegar until the cauliflower is highly seasoned and well balanced. Now add 1/4 cup olive oil, all the almonds, the parsley and mint and toss well. Taste again and add more seasonings and oil if you like. Serve cool or at room temperature.