Cauliflower

“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education” – Mark Twain

Cauliflower is a vegetable with which I have a love/hate relationship. Sitting in the school canteen as a young boy, I’d find myself looking down at yet another unappetising plate of nutritionally devoid ‘food’. Every lunchtime felt like a death sentence; and Cauliflower was one of the main constituents.

Looking back, however, I couldn’t be happier for this ‘breaking in’ experience into what I’ve come to realise is actually a fantastically versatile vegetable. Cauliflower works well in so many areas: Indian curries, soups, vegetable medleys, gratins, cauliflower cheese or even eaten raw as part of a dipping platter. Nutritionaly, with high fibre, vitamin C, low fat and carbohydrate content, they are definitely a healthy choice too.

With cauliflower, it’s all about using your imagination. For this recipe in particular, it’s about the novelty. So, with a griddle pan at the ready, prepare to tuck into these aptly named “steaks” and watch those memories of school dinners just melt away..

Cauliflower steaks with caraway and lemon

I’ve prepared these cauliflower steaks by combining them with caraway seeds, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Equally, you could use cumin or sesame seeds as a topping, but I find caraway more refreshing alongside the lemon juice. Lightly seasoned, rubbed with a little oil and shallow frying over a high heat gives a lovely char-grilled, caramelised effect.

Cauliflower steaks with lemon and carraway closeup

Cauliflower ‘reinvented’

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, leaves trimmed
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Cauliflower steaks prepDirections

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190C and place a flat baking tray inside.
  • With a sharp knife cut in a straight line down from the top centre of the cauliflower to the stem at the bottom, then cut two one-inch thick steaks from each half (see right).
  • Set aside the remaining florets for later use (these are good to save for cauliflower cheese).
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow frying pan over a high heat.
  • Brush the remaining 2 tbsp of oil on each side of the steaks and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place each steak into the pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes on either side (see below, left)

Cauliflower steaks frying in oil

  • Transfer the steaks onto the pre-heated baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.

 

 

Carraway seeds in pan

 

  • Meanwhile, in a separate pan, dry fry the caraway seeds over a medium heat until they start to release their aroma (see right)
  • Serve the steaks sprinkled with the seeds and drizzled with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
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