Apparently I have been on a cruciferous vegetable kick lately (see my last post on roasted romanesco and green cauli).
It is hard to resist the produce sales at Whole Foods, and so here I am with a head of cauliflower at the ready. This recipe, like my previous post, also involves roasting, but by slicing the cauliflower into thick ‘steaks,’ it feels like an entirely new specimen.
On a recent episode of Food52’s Burnt Toast podcast, Kristen Miglore discusses the ‘Genius Recipe‘ series on the Food52 website. The ‘Genius Recipes’ are a collection of recipes from food luminaries, cookbook authors, chefs, and bloggers that feature a technique that helps make cooking easier, better, and more delicious.
In the episode, there is mention of Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup, which caught my eye (err, ear) because of it’s simplicity–sweat onions, add chopped cauliflower and water and simmer and blend. Alas, when the time came to cook, I realized did not have any onions! The horror.
I then remembered beautiful image of Dan Barber’s Cauliflower Steaks and realized that it too is a Food52 ‘Genius Recipe.’ Plus, I did not need to run to the store to grab that onion and I had everything I needed on-hand–a cauliflower, vegetable stock that needed to be used, milk, salt and pepper, and some leftover chopped parsley from (eek) Passover.
What I like about this recipe is that I can use my cast iron skillet and it features one vegetable, cooked two ways–sautéed and finished in the oven, and pureed. Oh so fancy.
Dan Barber’s Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree
recipe from Food52
1 medium head (1 1/2-pound) cauliflower
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped parsley, optional
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a sharp heavy knife and starting at the top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through the stem end. Set the cauliflower steaks aside.
Cut the remaining cauliflower into florets to total roughly 3 cups. Combine florets, water or stock, and milk in a medium to large saucepan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Transfer florets and half of the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth, adding more of the liquid if desired and pureeing again. Return to the saucepan and set aside.
To make the steaks: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet (i.e. cast iron) over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.
To serve: spoon cauliflower puree onto two plates and top with cauliflower steaks. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley if desired.