Hard to believe that summer is upon us again, but the temperatures here have reached the triple digits and will no doubt stay there until October. On the positive side, my appetite seems to decrease in proportion with the temperature increase, necessitating some creativity in the kitchen. Where protein/carb/vegetable meals ruled in the winter, I’d be hard pressed to eat a full plate of food come dinner in the summer. Cold quinoa or farro salads rule and this new Bon Apetit Cauliflower Steak recipe (below) I tested is a definite keeper.
I’ve printed the recipe exactly as it is in Bon Apetit, then noted my changes – which were made based on time, a surplus of basil in the garden and what I had in my refrigerator!
1 large head of cauliflower
1/2c pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 1/2T olive oil, divided, plus more
2t chopped flat-leaf parsley
1t fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 plum tomatoes, cored, quartered
1.Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into four 1/2″ “steaks” from center of cauliflower (some florets will break loose; reserve). Finely chop enough loose florets to measure 1/2 cup. Transfer chopped florets to a small bowl and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. oil, parsley, and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and pepper.
2.Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 15 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, return skillet to medium-high heat and add garlic cloves and tomatoes, one cut side down. Cook until tomatoes are browned; turn tomatoes over and transfer skillet to oven with cauliflower. Roast garlic and tomatoes until tender, about 12 minutes.
4.Transfer garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 Tbsp. oil to a blender; purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide tomato sauce among plates. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate; spoon relish over. Serve warm or at room temperature.
With regard to ingredients, I used the following and did not bother with measuring – use more of what you like, less of what you don’t!
1 large head cauliflower
black and green pitted olives (I don’t like mine packed in oil, I like the extra saltiness of brine)
chopped basil (slice using chiffonade technique)
lemon (for zest and juice)
toasted pine nuts
cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt fresh ground black pepper
And finally, for prep…
I made the relish first, adding the tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, and basil to a small mixing bowl. I added the zest of one lemon and the juice of half that lemon. A generous glug of olive oil should bring the mixture together, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
I prepared the cauliflower in a skillet on the stove top. I heated the skillet to high, then reduced the heat to medium before adding the olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and dropping the cauliflower steaks in. After browning both sides of the steak, I added 1T of butter and let it brown on/around the cauliflower.
I did not bother with the tomato & garlic puree, instead simply plating the steak with relish on top. It was delicious and divinely simple!