I admit that cauliflower steaks sounds like a meat-lover’s worst nightmare – something they would have to eat as the only viable option at a vegetarian restaurant. I think you will be pleasantly surprised, however, with the heartiness (dare i say meatiness) of the cauliflower as well as its versatility. Modest flavor allows it to pair nicely with others without stealing the show – a good alternative to roasted root vegetables. On its own, serve it with a drizzle of balsamic syrup to enhance its sweetness.
I happened to be trying this recipe out the same night as I made the harissa and after all the necessary photos has been taken, I sat down to delve into what seemed like a haphazard meal. Instead I found that the two were a match made in heaven (and I have pretty much been eating cauliflower and harissa for lunch and dinner three days straight…and it is still scrumptious!).
If you don’t want to make harissa, you can buy it at most grocery stores with good international ingredients (such as whole foods).
1 head of cauliflower (about 1½ lbs)
2 tbl vegetable oil
salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 400˚F. Cut two 1-inch-thick slices from the center of the cauliflower – keeping the stem but removing any leaves attached at the bottom. Set aside.
- Roughly chop up the rest of the cauliflower, place in a pot, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Starting with ½ to ¾ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, puree the cauliflower until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet with the vegetable oil. Brush cauliflower steaks with a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper on either side. Add to the pan and cook until nicely charred, flip over, transfer pan to the oven, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Spread some of the puree on a plate and top with cauliflower steak.