Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cauliflower Steak with Cauliflower Purée

On the other side of the spectrum from the previous post, I knew I had to try making Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steak with Cauliflower Purée as soon as I saw it on Food52.  I've always liked cauliflower but never gotten it in any Boston Organics deliveries.  Seeing this recipe made me decide to stop waiting and go out and buy some (and luckily, cauliflower's on sale at Trader Joe's at the moment).

I knew the name Dan Barber sounded familiar to me, but I couldn't quite figure out how I had heard of him until I remembered that his TED talk on foie gras was the first TED talk I ever watched!  I've also watched his TED talk on fish, and I would highly suggest watching them both.  I don't know; there's just something about the way he talks--it's simple but also so very sincere.  You won't regret it.

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Anyways, back to this dish, which is really all about the cauliflower.  You can get two nice, inch-thick "steaks" out of a head of cauliflower, which are then caramelized on a hot pan.  The rest of the florets are cooked in milk and water and then puréed in a blender.  Even though there's a bare minimum of ingredients, the two different cooking techniques make a pretty big difference in the taste of the two preparations of cauliflower.  Plus, it looks really cool plated!

I decided to finish the dish with a sprinkle of truffle salt--not enough to overpower the delicate cauliflower flavor, but just enough to keep it out of the boring territory.

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Cauliflower Steak with Cauliflower Purée (adapted from Food52)
serves 2

One 1 1/2 lb. head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Truffle salt (optional)

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Heat oven to 350°F. Using sharp heavy knife and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.

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Cut enough florets from remaining cauliflower head to measure 3 cups. Combine florets, water, and milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

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Transfer florets to blender. Add half of the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid and purée until smooth. Add more of the liquid if desired, and purée again. Return purée to same saucepan.

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Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Cover the pan with a splatter screen, if you have one.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.

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Rewarm cauliflower purée over medium heat. Divide purée between two plates; top each with cauliflower steak.  Sprinkle a pinch of truffle salt on top and serve.

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Personally, I would have liked a little more acid in the dish; maybe a reduction of balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top.  It would make a nice striking contrast against all the white, too!

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Next:  Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
Previously:  Jjajungmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)
Three years ago:  Faux Momofuku Brussels Sprouts
Four years ago: Boston Cream Cupcakes, One Avocado Ice Cream

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