Recipe by Ed Thomson @edjthomson
Today’s post is three recipes in one. We have a silky smooth puree, roasted cauliflower and a zingy salsa. As a combined dish it’s a knockout and a great meat free alternative. Separately each dish works as a great accompaniment with fish, meat and also as a salad.
Cauliflower has definitely been a popular vegetable of late. We have been cooking it in all forms; mac & cheese, soups, fritters, fancy salads and the new trend of a cauliflower steak. It’s a pretty versatile vegetable and I am so pleased to say that this puree is an absolute winner with any meat and fish. It’s delicious and is a silky velvety sauce that can be made ahead of time and warmed up in the microwave, in the oven or on the stove. The steaks can be roasted, refrigerated and then reheated. The leftovers make a great salad. The salsa keeps for a week in the fridge, add the herbs and nuts just prior to serving. Make sure its room temperate when you serve it so the flavours have time to zing again.
Happy cooking & delicious eating.
Cauliflower steaks, cauliflower purée & caper, almond & citrus salsa
Ingredients: Cauliflower Steaks
- 2 medium cauliflowers
- Olive oil
- Lemon or lime juice
- Salt & pepper
- Spice mix – optional
Method: Cauliflower Steak
Preheat oven to 200ºC – 400ºF
Gently trim the leaves off the cauliflower. Trim the end of the stalk a little, keep it completely intact. You need the stalk to keep the steaks together. In a water bath, submerge the whole cauliflowers to release any bugs and dirt.
On a cutting board, place the cauliflower upside down, stalk side up. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you should be able to cut two (for a small one) or possibly four (larger cauliflower) steaks about 2-3cm thick. There will be some offcuts and that is ok. It’s a round vegetable. What I recommend is to either use these offcuts to make the purée or group these together and form a steak shape. It doesn’t matter if they are not joined. You can also make a delicious salad with the roasted offcuts tomorrow.
On a baking tray lined with baking paper, place your steaks. With your fingers sprinkle a little water on the cauliflower as this helps them to steam/roast. Drizzle each steak with a generous glug olive oil, squeeze the lemon/lime juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. At this point you can sprinkle over any spices or spice mix you like. I would suggest one of: a middle eastern spice mix, za’atar mix, garam masala, ground cumin, chilli flakes, ground cinnamon. Experiment and have fun with these flavours.
Turn the steaks over and apply the oil, lemon/lime, seasoning and spices to the other sides. It’s really important that the cauliflower is well oiled as this helps it get that delicious soft inside and crispy edges.
Baste the cauliflower in any oily, citrus juices on the baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turn steaks and bake a further 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is crispy and a little brown/black on the tips but not burnt.
While you bake the steaks, make the purée & salsa.
When the steaks are done, keep warm until time to serve.
Ingredients: Almond & citrus salsa
- 4 tbspns Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbspns Lemon or lime juice & zested rind
- 2 tbspns capers, rinsed & chopped
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- Salt & pepper
- 50g Almonds or nuts/seeds of choice, roasted & roughly chopped
- 1-2 cups parsley or basil leaves
Method: Almond & citrus salsa
For salsa, mix all ingredients together except the nuts and herbs. Taste for balance of seasoning, acid and oil. Adjust to your liking. Add the herbs and nuts just prior to serving and toss.
Ingredients: Cauliflower Purée
- 400g cauliflower, washed, leaves removed and cut into pieces
- 3 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
- 2 cups cow’s milk, possibly more. You can swap out cow’s milk for other milks
- Salt to taste
- White pepper to taste
- Bay leaf if you have one
- 2 tbspns butter
Method: Cauliflower Purée
Place the cauliflower and spring onions in a small saucepan. Cover the vegetables with milk. You might need a little more milk and if you don’t have any more some water or stock is ok.
Add salt, pepper and bay leaf. Heat the milk to the point just before it boils. Turn down heat to low, cover saucepan with a lid leaving a small gap for steam to escape. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is soft- pierce the thickest stem with a pointed knife. Continue cooking for a little longer if it is not soft yet.
Let the cauliflower cool a little in the pan. Remove the bay leaf. The next step is to strain the cauliflower with a bowl underneath the colander as you want to keep the milk.
Using a stick blender or a blender, whizz up the cauliflower and add the milk bit by bit until you have a beautiful smooth consistency. If it’s too thick again add a little more milk. You will most probably not use up all the milk. Taste the puree for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Add the butter and whizz through.
At this point you can make the puree the day or a few days ahead and put it in the fridge. To reheat, microwave or heat up in a saucepan, stirring continuously to ensure it does not catch and burn. Keep it warm with a lid on top until it’s time to serve.
On a platter or individual plates, smear a warm blog of the puree, place a steak on top. Thoroughly mix the salsa and spoon over the top.
If you have leftover puree, put it in the fridge and use on anything you eat over the next few days. It’s a great addition to your macaroni cheese or add it when you next make a cheese toastie.