Lately, I've been reading great things about cauliflower steaks, something new to my repertoire. For a vegetarian, this is an intriguing use for cauliflower. My recipe is based on one from Anne Burrell. Well worth a try.
Forty minutes in the ovens transforms the cauliflower into a soft and silky vegetable. There's new flavour in there! Then, you add a couple of generous spoonfulls of mushroom ragoût and top with a beautiful poached egg! Heaven!
To serve four
1 head cauliflower, cut into four 1/2-inch cross section slices from the middle, rounded outside edges removed and cut into bite-size florets.
1/2 lb pancetta, cut into small dice (not an option if you're vegetarian :-)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb mushrooms (porcini, cremini, oyster, shitake, portobello) cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 sprigs thyme or a pinch or two of dried, finely chopped
pinch of crushed pepper
1/2 cup red wine
4 large eggs
3 tbsp vinegar
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
For the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil and salt. Add the steaks, coat with the oil and salt. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the steaks and stir the florets. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and brown. Remove from the oven and reserve.
For the mushrooms: Toss the pancetta in a large pan with a few drops of oil and bring the pan to medium low heat. Cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally until brown and crispy, approximately eight to ten minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook until golden and aromatic, two to three minutes. Remove the garlic and throw away.
Crank up the heat to medium high. When the fat/oil starts to sizzle, toss in the mushrooms and rosemary and continue to stir to combine. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Cook the mushrooms, stirring until they begin to soften, three to four minutes.
Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape brown bits. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Remove from heat, taste and season. Toss in the reserved cauliflower and keep warm.
Poach the eggs. Cook four minutes or until whites are cooked through and yolks are warm and runny.
To assemble: Place the cauliflower steak on each plate and top with a spoonful of the mushroom hash. Nestle the poached egg on top. Sprinkle with a few grains of salt and some chives.
Try replacing the mushroom ragoût with big flavoured caponata.