Cauliflower. Did you hate it as a kid? Do you find it bland and boring as an adult? Well then I have some bad news for you. You’re old school. Because somehow cauliflower has pushed its way beyond its stodgy past and attained new school relevance. Whether you grill, sear, roast, mash, blend or simply eat a big thick slice of Cauliflower Steak, there are a million creative ways to enjoy this cruciferous vegetable. From Cauliflower Pizza to Cauliflower Ice Cream.
I usually enjoy cauliflower as a side dish– tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with bold spices like cumin, coriander or anise, then roasted until softened, charred and sweetened in an intensely hot oven or grill. When served in this simple manner it will sit nicely on the plate next to almost anything you’d like to serve. It’s also nice cooked in this manner, then tossed with cheesy pasta.
However, cauliflower is also making its new school appearance as a serious main course option. It may have started as a vegetarian excuse to use the word steak in a sentence, but charred Cauliflower Steak is now served as a main course in high-end restaurants and at fancy-pants dinner parties (including mine).
I think this is partly due to the availability of really good cauliflower that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Farmers markets and organic vegetable stands sell cauliflower in vibrant shades of violet and saffron. There are spiky chartreuse examples, and even adorable miniature versions. They all beg for some new school attention.
In less enlightened old school kitchens, cauliflower is humble fare that’s either camouflaged beyond recognition, or so timidly seasoned that its true beauty gets ignored. I won’t let that happen in my kitchen.
Cauliflower Steak with Chili-Spiced Honey
This new school Cauliflower Steak with Chili-Spiced Honey recognizes that cauliflower can stand up to bold seasoning (in fact it almost begs for it). I chose a chili powder that I mellowed with honey. The combination creates a sweet and spicy glaze that caramelizes beautifully. I used an array of additional textures to highlight the charred and softened dichotomy of this Cauliflower Steak. Warm beans, cool radish slices, and salty pistachios all bring an extra dimension of both taste and texture. I also laid a single wedge of pillowy soft, coriander-spiced sweet potato on the plate at my party. This is optional.
All I need to make this Cauliflower Steak a success is to invite *three of my favorite blogger friends to the table to throw loads of new school praise my way. GREG