Cauliflower is sweet and can be crunchy when cooked at high heat, so it pairs wonderfully with something bright and acidic. I have been making it with a simple lemon-kalamata olive sauce with some toasted pine nuts to add some extra nuttiness. I have made this dish about 4 times in the last few weeks with slight variations. It comes out great every time.
This is a steak that is best served well done. You will have to cook these cauliflower steaks for longer than you think. They will get nicely crispy and have a real umami flavor when seasoned well and served with the sauce. You could cook it less, but the flavor comes from being in the pan for a long time. While cauliflower can cook very quickly in a steamer; it takes a little bit of time to cook the steak to be tender and golden on the outside, which is where so much flavor comes from.
One head of cauliflower will yield two steaks. It's tough to get more because the outside starts to crumble when you cut it. The great thing about that is you can either use them in a side dish, thrown them in the pan that you are using to cook the steaks, or save them for another night. For this recipe, we are making cauliflower purée out of the extra cauliflower.
There are a lot of sauces that would work great with this; hollandaise, grabiche, burre blanc, au poivre, even a red wine sauce.
In our house, it's rare that we don't pick up a head of cauliflower when we make the weekly produce run at Specialty Produce. There is such a variety of ways it can be prepared. It's so diverse. Raw, roasted, made into rice, steamed, sautéed, puréed, made into creamy soup, sous vide, pickled, and just about any other way you can think of. Oh, and there are also a variety of colors too. You can get cauliflower in white, yellow, orange, purple, green and maybe some color I haven't seen yet.
So go pick up some cauliflower, cut them up and throw them in a pan!
How to cut a cauliflower steak
The trickiest part about making cauliflower steak is the cutting part. The stem is what help hold the cauliflower steaks together; so it's really important not to trim any of them stem off.
- With a long sharp knife, slice down the middle to cut the cauliflower in half.
- Then slice two more equal pieces about ½" thick.
- Reserve the extra cauliflower for another use.
How to make a cauliflower puree
The simplest way to make cauliflower puree that I have found is to cut the leftovers from the steak into florets, then steam them until tender, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the florets. Then you purée the cooked cauliflower a blender with a little bit of butter, warm milk and salt & pepper until smooth but so it still has some texture. Set it aside in a covered bowl near the stove to keep warm.
There are numerous other method to make it; including sautéing the florets in butter, then adding the milk to finish cooking.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ⅛ cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup kalamata olives sliced
- chopped parsley
- 3 cups cauliflower florets leftover from cutting the steaks
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup warm milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper or white pepper
To make the steaks
- Slice the cauliflower down the center to cut it in half.
- Cut two equal steaks (one from each half), about ½" thick.
- Pat dry the steak with a paper towel.
- Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a 12" cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is about to start smoking.
- Add the cauliflower steaks and move them around the pan to coat with oil over medium-high heat.
- Cook until until golden, then flip and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until the cauliflower is tender.
- Season on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Move cauliflower to warm plates.
- To make the sauce; add the pine nuts to the pan and stir to toast (quickly), then remove the pan from the heat.
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the kalamata olives and chopped parsley until the butter is melted.
- Spoon over the cauliflower steaks.
- Garnish with parsley and a lemon slice.
To make the cauliflower purée
- While the steaks are cooking; bring steamer to a boil
- Steam the cauliflower for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor with the butter, warm milk, salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Blend until smooth, but so it still has some texture.
- Set aside and keep warm.