Friday, June 5, 2015

Cauliflower Steaks with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

How long has it been since you had steak for dinner? I grew up in steak and barbecue country, but I don't miss it at all. The cauliflower version of steak is superior in every way. Easier to make, tastier and not deadly to any being or the planet. You won't have a coronary if you eat one of these a day, either. Win-win all around.

This dish is super simple to make. Some people I've talked to feel a little intimidated by cauliflower steaks, but there's nothing to fear. As long as you get the thickness of the steak and the cooking time right, they'll turn out perfectly every time.

The sauce is sort of a cheater version of romesco. I didn't have any almonds or pine nuts on hand, so I just skipped that part and used the rest of the cauliflower to make it creamier. Any sauce will do for this, so if you prefer a true romesco sauce, go for it. Chimichurri or pesto would be great, too.


1 1-2lb. head of cauliflower
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 1/2 cup water
1 red bell pepper, roasted (or 4 segments of jarred roasted red peppers)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make the steaks: trim the leaves off of the head of cauliflower, stand it up on its stem and slice it right down the middle, making two even halves. Stand one half up, move your knife over about an inch and slice straight down again. Then repeat with the other half. You want to only use the two center-most pieces, as those will give you the biggest steaks. If you're making more than two, you'll need another head of cauliflower. Set the rest of the cauliflower aside.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof skillet or pot. I used a dutch oven, which isn't ideal, but it gets the job done. Drop one steak and sear it on both sides. Remove it to a plate and do the same with the other. Put both steaks back into the pan in a single layer, cover and put it into the oven for 10 minutes.

Make the sauce: Cut up 3 cups of the remaining cauliflower into florets. In a large saucepan, combine the florets, water and non-dairy milk and a little salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring it to a boil, then turn it down so it'll simmer. Check in around 8 minutes. It should be fork tender by then.

Strain out the cauliflower, reserving a cup of the liquid. Put both into a blender, along with the roasted red peppers and the garlic.

Turn the blender on high and let it go until it's smooth. You may need to add a little more of the simmering liquid if it's not as smooth as you like. It shouldn't be runny, but it shouldn't be a paste, either.

After 10 minutes has passed, check on  your steaks. They should be fork tender, but not mushy. They need to be able to retain their shape. If they're an inch thick, 10 minutes ought to do it. They'll have a beautiful color to them.

Check the sauce for seasoning, then pour a generous dollop onto a plate. With the back of a spoon, spread it around and top it with a steak (or two). Garnish it with something green (it stands out against the orange sauce) and serve.

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