Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce.
long time, I wouldn’t touch cauliflower.
blame vegetable trays at Fourth of July picnics and
graduation parties during my childhood. Raw cauliflower just
doesn’t intrigue a child like a crunchy carrot, a celery
brimming with flavored cream cheese or those black olives
that fit on the end of your fingers.
raw cauliflower was a hunk of dense blandness.
cauliflower conversion started at a local Mediterranean
deli. There was roasted curried cauliflower on the buffet.
Despite my negative cruciferous history, I was intrigued
enough to try it. It was delicious. That tender cauliflower
had soaked up every bit of those flavors.
winter, I started craving that roasted curried cauliflower
and found a recipe online that perfectly replicated it.
budding love for cauliflower has sparked a cooking binge. I
have boiled it, roasted it and even sauteed it. I have
served it with pasta, served it as steaks and even enjoyed
it finely diced and raw in a relish.
started looking, cauliflower was everywhere. Epicurious.com
named it one of the top food trends of 2013: "This
cruciferous friend is finally taking center plate."
Then New York magazine cited the popularity of cauliflower
steaks, writing: "Now it’s cauliflower in the role of
Vegetable Most Likely to Be Mistaken for a Piece of
Meat." (The cauliflower is cut in ½-inch slices
retaining some of the core so it holds together.)
I started seeing cauliflower on menus. A cauliflower steak
is served on a biscuit with red pepper ragu and goat cheese
at Durham’s Rise bakery. Cauliflower in Easter colors of
mint green, purple and a pale orange appeared in course
after course at Herons restaurant at The Umstead Hotel &
Spa in Cary, N.C. There cauliflower is served as a chowder
with bacon, capers and golden raisins, as a salad, thinly
sliced and drizzled with hazelnuts, almonds and parmesan
cheese, and as a side dish, blanched, tossed with brown
butter and topped with an aged cheddar cheese.
chef Scott Crawford is a cauliflower fan, citing its
versatility as an entree, a side or an accent on a dish.
"It can be the star, or the texture, or the
vehicle," he said.
started poring over cookbooks, I was surprised to see so
many dishes from the Mediterranean included cauliflower. I
reached out to award-winning cookbook author Martha Rose
Shulman for an explanation.
do think of other vegetables like tomatoes and eggplant when
we think of Mediterranean food, but that’s probably
because most people travel from the United States to the
Mediterranean in the summer, when those vegetables are in
season," Shulman wrote in an email. "Cauliflower
is popular everywhere in the Mediterranean, not just in the
winter but year-round."
reeled off a litany of dishes: deep-fried cauliflower served
with a tahini sauce in the Middle East, simmered cauliflower
tagine served with couscous in Tunisia, cauliflower with
olives and feta in a hearty Greek stew, pasta with
cauliflower, anchovies and saffron in Italy. And then
Shulman’s favorite: a French preparation where it’s
marinated a la Grecque, with olive oil, lemon, vinegar,
coriander seeds and other spices and herbs.
seems my cruciferous conversion is only bound to grow.
WAYS WITH CAULIFLOWER
hearty soup. Remove stem and leaves from one head of
cauliflower. Divide into florets. Add to a medium pot with 8
cups of chicken or vegetable broth. Cook until the
cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Use a potato masher
to break into smaller pieces, but do not pulverize. Add 1
cup orzo pasta; cook until tender, following package
instructions. If desired, season with fresh cracked pepper.
Top each serving with grated parmesan cheese and serve with
together a quick pasta dish. Boil florets from 1 head of
cauliflower until tender. Remove with slotted spoon. When
cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces. Cook 1 pound
penne pasta in water used to boil cauliflower. Saute 1
tablespoon minced garlic with ¼ cup olive oil in a large
skillet over medium-low heat. When garlic is golden, add
cauliflower. Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally.
Drain pasta when just shy of being done, reserving 1 cup of
cooking water. Add pasta to skillet. Toss with cauliflower
and garlic. Add reserved pasta water. When pasta is done and
glazed, season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup
a la Grecque. Place florets of cauliflower in a large bowl
with enough water to cover and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Stir and drain. Bring large pot of salted water to boil, add
cauliflower. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove cauliflower to
a bowl of ice water. Let sit a few minutes and drain. In a
large stockpot, combine 1/3 cup lemon juice, ½ cup dry
white wine, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons fennel
seeds, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, a
bay leaf, 1/3 cup olive oil and ¾ cup water. Bring to a
boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, reduce
heat and let simmer for 7 minutes. Remove cauliflower and
transfer to a large platter. Season with salt and pepper.
Strain cooking liquid and return to the pot. Bring to a
simmer and reduce by half. Pour over cauliflower and cool.
Serve at room temperature or cold. This can be made up to
five days in advance.
Carole Tanzer Miller, The New York Times, and
"Mediterranean Harvest," by Martha Rose Shulman
found this recipe while seeking to re-create my favorite
cauliflower dish served at Mediterranean delis. This dish
can be made up to two hours ahead. From epicurious.com
cups cauliflower florets (from about 4 pounds cauliflower)
large onion, peeled, quartered
teaspoon coriander seeds
teaspoon cumin seeds
red wine vinegar
teaspoons curry powder
tablespoon paprika or Hungarian hot paprika
ground black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro
oven to 450 degrees. Place cauliflower florets in large
roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Pull apart onion
quarters into separate layers; add to cauliflower. Stir
coriander seeds and cumin seeds in small skillet over medium
heat until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Crush
coarsely in mortar with pestle. Place seeds in medium bowl.
Whisk in oil, vinegar, curry powder, paprika and salt. Pour
dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in
single layer. Sprinkle with pepper.
vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35
minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room
temperature. Rewarm in 450-degree oven for 10 minutes, if
with fresh cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.
WITH CAULIFLOWER AND SPINACH
Network star Guy Fieri calls for paccheri pasta but I just
used spaghetti. Use whatever pasta you prefer. From
cauliflower, cut into florets
tablespoons olive oil, divided
tablespoons minced garlic
tablespoon sliced garlic
teaspoon red pepper flakes
chicken stock or vegetable stock
bunch fresh spinach (about 3 cups)
(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
tablespoons capers, with 1 tablespoon juice
teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
pound paccheri pasta (large tube) approximately 2.5 inches
long by 2 inches wide
grated Pecorino Romano
chopped Italian parsley leaves
a large stock pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then
add salt and cauliflower. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Heat 2
tablespoons of olive oil in a large sautÃ© pan, and sautÃ©
minced and sliced garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute.
Remove the cauliflower from water with a large strainer or
spider and add it to the pan with the garlic-red pepper
mixture. SautÃ© briefly until starting to brown, about 3
to 4 minutes. Deglaze pan with chicken stock, add spinach,
cover and let wilt for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and
capers with juice and reduce the heat. Remove the cover and
let simmer for 5 minutes.
cauliflower water to boil, adding more water, if necessary,
to cook pasta. Add pasta and cook to al dente. Remove pasta
from water and add it to the pan with the sauce, adding a
little pasta water, if needed. Stir gently to combine,
transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with half of the
cheese. Garnish with parsley and drizzle the remaining 2
tablespoons of olive oil. Serve immediately with remaining
cheese on the side.
STEAKS WITH OLIVE RELISH AND TOMATO SAUCE
hard to get more than two complete steaks from one head of
cauliflower. That’s fine if you are only serving two
people. Otherwise, buy more than one head of cauliflower.
Instead of plum tomatoes, feel free to saute 6 tablespoons
canned diced tomatoes with diced garlic cloves instead of
roasting before pureeing. From Bon Appetit magazine, January
large head of cauliflower
pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped
sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced, soaked for 4 minutes for
tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
tomatoes, cored, quartered
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 ½-inch
"steaks" from center of cauliflower (some florets
will break loose; reserve). Finely chop enough loose florets
to measure ½ cup. Transfer chopped florets to a small bowl
and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive
oil, parsley and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and
oven to 400 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large,
heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2
batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2
to 4 minutes per side, adding 1 tablespoon oil to pan
between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking
sheet. Reserve skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender,
about 15-18 minutes, turning halfway through.
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.
garlic, tomatoes, and ½ tablespoon oil to a blender; puree
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.