Quinoa was at the height of its popularity in 2012, with the exception of The Bachelorette and her bachelor-men, they didn't want to eat it. Go figure. Now cauliflower is taking center stage: Cauliflower, the new Quinoa...don't tell quinoa this however, she can be such a diva.
As Vegan Week continues, I thought of cauliflower. Upon several google searches, I decided to try Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree. It looked interesting, the yin and yang of cauliflower, if you will: the steaks sauteed, browned, and slightly al dente - the puree, creamy and smooth - very mashed potato-like.
This time, I am better prepared. I also decided to add a few mushroom and roasted garlic skewers to the mix. The cauliflower alone left me wanting a little somethen'-somethen', if you know what I mean.
I marinated some baby bella mushrooms while the garlic was roasting; I had peeled garlic on-hand, but you can just as easily roast a whole head...or seven. You'll want to slather it on everything when it's finished roasting. Seriously.
I chopped the cauliflower steaks, started browning them, and in a separate pan began simmering the remaining florets in coconut milk. While the cauliflower was doing its thing, I skewered the garlic and shrooms (I roasted the garlic and marinated the mushrooms ahead of time). Once the steaks were finishing in the oven, and the florets were ready for the blender - I threw the skewers onto the skillet.
The second time was the charm! This would make a great lunch, that's how I enjoyed it. S tried this, he liked it - he thought the puree was mashed potatoes. He did slather his cauliflower steak in Red Hot, as he does most things. However, being a rugged "man-of-size", he would like a meatloaf to go along with this....he still doesn't know it's Vegan Week!
Cauliflower Steaks & Puree with Mushroom & Garlic Skewers
cauliflower steaks & puree adapted from, Bon Appetit - February 2008
makes 2 servings
FOR THE SKEWERS
1 head garlic, or a few dozen loose cloves
8oz baby bella mushrooms
1 TBS plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, a pinch of each
4 bamboo skewers, soaked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the top 1/4" on your garlic - if using individual cloves, peel them. Place garlic on a double layer of tinfoil, drizzle with 2 tsp of olive oil and add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in foil, place onto a small pan to catch and leakage, roast for about an hour - garlic will be golden brown and shriveled. Cool completely.
While the garlic is roasting, soak the bamboo skewers, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1 TBS of olive oil and the vinegar, add mushrooms and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble the skewers.
When the garlic has finished and is cool enough to handle, gently peel the skin away from each individual clove. Begin skewering the garlic and mushrooms - alternating so there is a garlic clove between each mushroom. Set aside until cauliflower is almost finished.
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup of reduced fat coconut milk
1 cup of water
2 TBS olive oil, plus additional for brushing
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the cauliflower and pat dry. Cut the head in half, straight down through the center core. Take each half, cut straight down - 1" from the taller center-edge, creating two 1" thick steaks - set steaks aside (see photo above).
Break up the remaining cauliflower into small florets. In a small saucepan combine florets, coconut milk, water, and a pinch each of salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Strain, reserve the liquid, add the liquids back to the pan - keep warm over low heat. Add florets onto a rimmed baking sheet bake for 10-15 minutes until they have dried out a bit.
While florets are drying out in the oven, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium /high heat. Brush each side of the steaks with oil, and sprinkle each side with a pinch salt & pepper. Brown the steaks, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
By this time the florets have finished drying, the skewers are assembled, and the steaks are ready for the oven.
~transfer dried florets into your blender, puree with 1 cup of reserved cooking liquids.
~transfer steaks onto rimmed baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes until tender.
~add skewers to skillet, saute each side 3-4 minutes.
Divide puree between two plates, top each plate with a cauliflower steak, and 2 mushroom & garlic skewers.
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