I made Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Green Bean & Tomato Salad because I’m easily suggestible. The littlest things can set me on a quest. This cauliflower “steak” quest began yesterday when I came across these words Jonathan Gold wrote about a grilled cauliflower “T‑Bone” in the LA Times Saturday section:
“… a Sicilian-esque preparation that is probably as close to hedonistic as a vegan dish can get. In cross-section, the vegetable, as thick-cut as a porterhouse, even resembles a steak, florets branching off the core in two dimensions like fleshy striations off a bone.”
Not only is that fun writing– I mean I can actually see the thing in my head just from those words– but more importantly it made me want to get in my car and drive to Superba Snack Bar. The Venice, CA restaurant serving the cauliflower T‑Bone that inspired Mr. Gold to write that sentence. Except, as you may know, I avoid driving west of La Cienega except under the most dire of circumstances. I’m sure that their cauliflower steak is good. But it can’t be a dire need. It just can’t.
So I decided to make that recipe myself, or at least settle for some version of it. You see, there was no recipe accompanying this article. So I was left to my own devices. I like being left to my own devices. Besides I had cauliflower in the fridge just waiting for its moment to shine (or should I say sizzle?).
The question of course was how to proceed having never actually eaten this “T‑Bone”. Well, I’ve grilled cauliflower before. It came out charred on the outside and raw on the inside. Lesson learned. Most steaks aren’t crunchy, so I decided to blanch my cauliflower after I cut it into thick slabs. I also brushed them with a bit of mayonnaise, right before they hit the grill. This helped them color nicely, more like meat. The rest of the recipe just kind of fell into place based on what I had in the refrigerator.
Overall I was pleased. I’m sure it’s nothing like the cauliflower Mr. Gold was served. It’s notably lacking the olive puree described in the article– I didn’t have any olives (save Ken’s martini olives and crazy I ain’t!). I suppose I could have gotten in the car and driven to the store. There are plenty of places east of La Cienega that carry very good olives. But I just didn’t and that’s my only explanation… GREG
- 1 T dijion mustard
- 1/4 c sherry vinegar
- 1 pn sugar
- 1 pn each kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
- 1 small clove garlic, green germ removed, finely minced
- 1 cg extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
- 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 lb various varieties of tomatoes (try for a mix of types, sizes and colors)
- 1 pn maldon salt, or other coarse sea salt, to taste
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 30 large green basil leaves, cut in ¼‑inch ribbons
- 1/2 bn lat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 25 tarragon leaves, snipped with scissors
- 2 large cauliflower heads
- 1 T kosher salt
- 2 t mayonnaise
Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the mustard, vinegar, sugar, 1 pinch each salt & pepper and garlic in a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. This will dissolve the salt and the sugar. Remove the cap, add the olive oil, replace the cap and shake again. This will yield about 1 1/3 cups of creamy, well-emulsified vinaigrette, more than will be required for the recipe (the remainder can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for at least 1 week).
Make the salad: Prepare a bowl of ice water. Blanch the green beans briefly in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water and cook just until the color brightens, about 3 minutes. Remove to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and pat dry. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a large serving platter. Depending on the shape of the tomatoes, you may want to cut some into wedges and others may look better sliced. Season the tomatoes with Maldon salt and a few turns of freshly milled black pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the chopped shallots and distribute half the green and opal basil, parsley and tarragon evenly over the tomatoes. This should be done one-half hour before you are ready to serve your guests.
Grill the cauliflower: Heat the grill over medium-high heat until hot and clean it well with a wire brush.
Trim the stem end of the cauliflowers. Then slice in half through the stem end. Trim each into thick slices. There will be lots of extra florets to use another time. You should have 4 thick cross sections of cauliflower.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Blanch the cauliflower slices until softened, about 4 minutes. Drain and dry each slice. Then brush both sides lightly with mayonnaise. Move to the heated grill and grill until nicely charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Just before the cauliflower is ready, shake the vinaigrette again to re-emulsify, and drizzle one-fourth of it over the tomatoes. Place the cooked and drained green beans in a mixing bowl and toss them with enough vinaigrette to coat them well and season with salt and pepper. Scatter a layer of beans over the tomatoes. Place the grilled cauliflower on top of the tomatoes and the beans. Drizzle with more vinaigrette and scatter over the remainder of the dressed beans. Distribute the remaining herbs over it all. Pass the remaining vinaigrette at the table.