“Who wants more cauliflower?” After asking the question, do you note silence at your dinner table or an enthusiastic chorus of “Me! Me! Me!”? This nutrient-packed vegetable often gets a bum rap for being bland. Not so, in this case. This recipe takes multiple steps to pack in as much flavor as possible. After being marinated in an aromatic mixture of coconut milk, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes, the cauliflower is then baked and broiled to achieve a roasted flavor. A drizzle of mustard vinaigrette and a sprinkle of fresh herb gremolata puts the finishing touches on a vegetable dish that will have people asking for more.
Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon
Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli, FOOD NETWORK
2 large heads cauliflower (2 to 2 ½ pounds each)
Two 13 ½-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1. For the cauliflower: Place the first head of cauliflower upright (stem-side down) on a flat surface. Using a large knife and imagining that you are creating two large steaks from each head of cauliflower, trim a little off each end so that when you split the cauliflower in half, each half will lie flat. Cut the cauliflower in half. You should yield two “steaks,” each weighing about 14 to 15 ounces. Repeat with the other cauliflower.
2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a pot large enough to hold the cauliflower steaks. Add salt until the water tastes like mild seawater. (How will you know? Take a little water with a spoon and taste a drop of it.) Layer a baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Add the cauliflower steaks to the boiling water and cook until they are slightly tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon or spatula to carefully transfer the steaks to the baking sheet to drain.
3. In a container large enough to fit the cauliflower snugly, whisk the coconut milk together with the coriander, red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of salt. Submerge the steaks in the coconut milk marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
4. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and vinegar in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
5. For the gremolata: Combine the parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
6. Finish the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Remove the cauliflower steaks from the coconut milk marinade and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt. Place in the oven and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Heat the broiler and place the cauliflower under the broiler for a few minutes, until the top chars. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter (or individual plates) and drizzle liberally with all of the vinaigrette. Top with all of the gremolata. Add a pinch more salt if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1. Instead of cutting the cauliflowers into steaks, I cut them into large florets instead. I thought this would be more attractive and feed more people.
2. Don’t overcook the florets in step 2. Because I cut the cauliflowers into florets instead of steaks, I boiled them for only 5 minutes. To better preserve the cauliflower’s nutrients, I will try steaming the florets the next time.
3. Place florets with stems up in a 9 x 13-inch pan to marinate, spooning marinade over them to coat all nooks and crannies. After one hour, I flipped them over so they were stem down and spooned the marinade in the pan over them. I let them marinate this way for another hour.
4. The gremolata adds an amazing fresh flavor to this dish, so don’t even think of not using it.
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