If it hadn’t been for my cooking course, I would have dismissed the trend for cauliflower steaks and whole roasted cauliflower as a substitute for a steak or roast dinner, I just couldn’t see the appeal.
The thought of eating a slab of cauliflower as the centre of my meal seriously seemed absurd…but I was so wrong! Far from your usual boiled or roasted cauliflower, it is first braised in a flavoursome liquid then quickly seared before dressing with a sauce of your choice. Alone it tastes amazing, but the flavour is really intensified once it’s been infused with the braising liquid and grilled. I chose the chimichurri, and then tweaked it to suit the herbs I had growing. It is was presented on roasted red pepper puree, and added some garnish to tie the dish together and add more colour. Other sauce parings were olive pistou, mushroom peppercorn sauce and peanuts with herbs. I think there’s an almost endless number of sauces and dressings that would work.
It is a great dish to pre-prepare for a dinner party as it can be made in stages, all the components can be prepared individually ahead of time.
The steaks can be cut, braising liquid made or even pre-braise your steaks prior to frying. Chimichurri and red pepper puree can be made ahead too.
This is my version of the Rouxbe recipe:
- Depending on size of the cauliflower, you will get 2 or 3 steaks per head. Each serving 1-2 per person approximately 2cm thick.
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 250ml vermouth
- 1 bay leaves
- 2 slices of lemon
- Chimichurri dressing
- Red pepper puree
Mix the ingredients for your braising liquid and pour in a baking dish with the cauliflower. It should come about half way up. Bake at 175ºC for 35-45 minutes, turn over half way through. When cooked they should still be firm, but edible, if it’s too soft, it will fall apart during frying.
If you are preparing you bring liquid ahead, don’t add the lemon slices until your ready to pop them in the oven, the lemon peel makes the liquid bitter.
Taste your braising liquid, all bouillon powders/stocks vary greatly, if couldn’t drink a spoonful, it won’t make your steak taste good.
Chimichurri dressing use your favourite one, there are so many regional variations.
For the red pepper puree: blend roasted, skinned, deseeded, red peppers. Alternatively, you can use jarred red peppers.