Cauliflower steaks, dry rubbed with chipotle spice, topped with a kale pesto and browned butter breadcrumbs, and laid over a citrus salad.
There are challenges to shifting your eating patterns if you’re the only one in your family making that shift. This time last year, I was trying to be 100% vegetarian, while Myles patiently stayed on the sidelines waiting for me to come to my senses. Initially, he was open to all the kale and whole grains that started showing up on the table; but over time, not so much. Cooking became a chore, as I slogged through making two different dinners every night. I had to find a smarter way.
One solution is to compose a one-dish vegetarian meal incorporating components that can be made ahead, and used for both our dinners. This dish is a perfect example of how this can work.
I’ve been noticing cauliflower steaks everywhere since I saw a recipe for them in the January 2012 Bon Appetit issue. They’re the perfect size and shape for a ‘steak’, and just like the beefsteak on Myles’ plate, accept rubs and can be cooked in a number of ways. In short, cauliflower and beef make the perfect “his and hers” steaks.
For my first venture with this idea, I pulled out a jar of my favorite rub – perfect for both meat AND vegetables, seared the two steaks, and then finished them in the oven. I pulled some Kale Pesto and Browned Butter Breadcrumbs from the refrigerator, and threw together the Citrus Salad. In the end, this dinner came together in about 30 minutes! Score one for the Home Team. Here’s why it worked:
- I used the same cooking method for both the cauliflower and beefsteak.
- My ingredient heros were the Spicy Rub, Kale Pesto, and Browned Butter Breadcrumbs, because they were perfect for both the cauliflower and beef.
- The citrus salad is a great bed for the cauliflower and a nice side salad for the beef.
The Perfect Cauliflower Steak Dinner
- 1 head of cauliflower
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Chipotle Spice Rub
- 2 tablespoons Kale Pesto (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons Browned Butter Breadcrumbs
- 10 small kale leaves
- 1/2 serrano pepper, seeded, chopped
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 3 tablespoon grated Pecorino cheese
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or enough to get the consistency you prefer
- 2 oranges (or 1 tangerine, 1 orange)
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- handful kalamata olives, halved
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Spice Rub
- Make the Kale Pesto: Remove the central tough stem from each leaf, and stack the leaves and thinly slice.Throw into the food processor along with the other ingredients except the olive oil. Process until finely chopped.Drizzle the olive oil into the processor bowl, while running the food processor, until you get the consistency you prefer.
- If storing, pour into a jar and cover with more olive oil. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Make the Chipotle Spice Rub and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the cauliflower head in half through the central stalk. Slice each half into two halves. You should have 4 thick cauliflower slabs. Some florets will crumble off the slabs towards the ends. Don't throw them out.
- Rub both the slabs and florets with olive oil and the Chipotle Spice Rub.
- Heat some olive oil in a sautè pan over medium-high heat, and sear the cauliflower slabs until slightly crisped - about 3 minutes per side.
- Place on a baking sheet along with the florets, and roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Make the Citrus Salad: Combine the citrus, shallot, olives and the roasted cauliflower florets in a small bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar and spice rub together. Drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to whisk. Toss with the citrus salad.
- To Serve: spoon the citrus salad onto a serving plate. Lay the cauliflower steaks over the salad. Spread the kale pesto over the steaks, and sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.