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Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce

2012 April 5
by Mrs. FoodieLawyer

Here’s the final non-meat dish for this season of Lent, and we saved the best for last.  You might be surprised to find that cauliflower can constitute an entire meal (we were), but there is enough going on with this recipe to create a more than satisfying and delicious dinner made up entirely of vegetables.  We had heard of roasted cauliflower steak before and were intrigued to try it, but we (mostly me) were a little skeptical about how a slab of cooked cauliflower would actually taste.  When I found this recipe incorporating olive relish and tomato sauce, I knew we had a winner — if olives and tomatoes can make fish appetizing (and they can), we were excited to see what they could do for cauliflower.  Turns out they add a ton of rich, salty and tangy flavor to transform a roasted vegetable into an elegant meal.  An easy weeknight meal with simple ingredients:  cauliflower, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic, tomatoes and salt & pepper.

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Start by trimming the leaves and end piece of the cauliflower.  You’ll want to leave the core intact so that your cauliflower “steaks” don’t fall apart (even though some of them probably will anyway.  No worries.)  You can trim any remaining leaves from the core area after you cut the steaks.

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Place the cauliflower core-side-down on the cutting board, cut it in half, then cut each half into 1/2 inch thick “steaks.”

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Gently trim off any remaining leaves from the core areas.  Don’t worry if the steaks break apart — you can still roast the smaller pieces for the same tasty result.  Just think of them as little cauliflower filets.

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Chop up some of the remaining loose cauliflower florets to add to the olive relish for fresh flavor and texture.

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To make the relish, combine the chopped florets, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Heat a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

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Cook the cauliflower in the skillet (work in batches if necessary to avoid over-crowding the skillet) until lightly browned on both sides — about 2 minutes per side.  Place the browned cauliflower on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven preheated to 400 degrees and roast the cauliflower, turning the steaks over once, until browned and tender — about 15 minutes.

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For the tomato sauce, place quartered tomatoes and smashed garlic cloves on a separate cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven with the cauliflower until tender — about 10-12 minutes.  Keep an eye on the garlic so that it doesn’t get too browned and bitter.

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Puree the roasted tomatoes and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

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To serve, spoon some of the tomato sauce onto the plate, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the sauce, then top the cauliflower with the olive relish.  The simplicity of this dish belies its complex, “meaty” flavors.  As much as we appreciate a good beef steak every now and then, we equally enjoy discovering a healthy vegetarian meal that satisfies our carnivore tendencies.

Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup black olives, chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim the end and leaves from the head of cauliflower, keeping the core intact.  Place the cauliflower core-side-down on a cutting board, cut it in half, then cut each half into ½ inch thick “steaks.”  Trim any remaining leaves from the core areas of each steak.  Don’t worry if the steaks break apart, you can still roast the smaller pieces.  Chop up the remaining florets (about ⅓ cup worth) to add to the relish.
  3. To make the relish, combine the chopped florets, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl.  Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Heat a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in batches if necessary, cook the cauliflower steaks until lightly brown on each side — about 2 minutes per side.  Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Roast the cauliflower in the oven, turning once, until browned and tender — about 15 minutes.
  5. Place the quartered tomatoes and smashed garlic on a separate baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven with the cauliflower until tender — about 10-12 minutes.  Keep an eye on the garlic so that it doesn’t get too browned.  Puree the roasted tomatoes and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, spoon some of the tomato sauce on the plates, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the sauce, then top with olive relish.

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