Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomatoes and Capers (& Eating Cauliflower Greens)
The joke is on you. This may look impressive, but it is still very easy to make.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is finally getting its time in the limelight. Is cauliflower the new kale? Roasted, riced, pureed, mashed, curried, I have done it all. The last one on my hit-list was to make cauliflower steaks.
Basically, you roast or bake thick slabs of cauliflower and season them in any combination of flavours. I think it was Denis Cotter, in For The Love of Food, who admitted he could only ever get 2 steaks from one head of cauliflower. He is correct. Try carefully cutting cauliflower and you will still end up with cauliflower carnage. But at least I procured two cauliflower steaks along with some bigger chunks.
For this version of cauliflower steaks, I opted to pan-roast the cauliflower, creating a lovely layer of caramelization. It is flavoured simply, with tomatoes, capers, garlic, chile flakes and salt and pepper (do not skimp on the seasoning). And the neatest part of this recipe? I used the whole head of cauliflower, leaves and all. (I used the leftover cauliflower crumbles in the raw caramel apple). Gosh only knows why I always used to discard cauliflower leaves, but it is an edible green. Like bok choy, the stems are thick and crunchy and the bitty leaves are like baby greens. It all went into the dish.
Have you ever eaten cauliflower greens?
Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomatoes and Capers
Adapted from Root-to-Stalk Cooking
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
1 cauliflower, leaves trimmed and reserved, head cut into 1.5-cm steaks
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp capers, drained
1. Begin by preparing your cauliflower: remove the leaves. Trim the green parts and thinly slice the cores of the cauliflower leaves. Keep separate. Next, slice the cauliflower head into 1.5-cm slices. Only 2 will likely be big steaks but keep any reasonably large pieces. The rest of the cauliflower carnage can be used into another recipe.
2. In a large non-stick or cast-iron frying pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add the garlic and chile flakes and swirl until fragrant, around 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower steaks in a single layer, and any extra cauliflower pieces, making sure they are all touching the pan. Season with salt, to taste.
3. Cook the steaks without turning until caramelized, about 8 minutes, then flip. Add the sliced stems of the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower steaks are browned on the bottom and tender, another 8-10 minutes. During the last few minutes, add the cauliflower leaves, tomatoes and capers. Cover and cook until the tomatoes and leaves wilt.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Serves 2 as a side.