Pan-seared cauliflower 'steaks' served with an addictive and herbaceous chimichurri sauce
Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with Chimichurri Sauce [Vegan]
Preparing the Chimichurri Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, small dice
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground in mortar and pestle
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 roasted red pepper* (optional for garnish)
For the Cauliflower:
- 2 cups stock or water
- 1/2 cup vermouth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 slices fresh lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem trimmed*
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
For the Cooking the Cauliflower Steaks:
- 1 tablespoon oil
For the Chimichurri Sauce:
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the salt and warm water together to dissolve; set aside. In Spanish, this is called salmuera (salty water).
- Once the salt has dissolved, combine all of the ingredients. Gently whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt as desired.
- Adjust the seasonings, if desired. Place in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To Prepare the Cauliflower:
- To bake the cauliflower, first preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). *NOTE: Do NOT core the cauliflower. The stem is needed to keep the ‘steaks’ intact. With the cauliflower sitting on its stem, cut in half through the middle. Trim the outer edge of each half to form a thick steak-like piece of cauliflower. Each piece should be approximately 1 1/2 inch thick.
- In a 9×11 baking dish, mix together the garlic, stock, vermouth, bay leaves, lemon and salt. *Note: The amount of salt you add will depend on how salty your stock is to begin with. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Place the cauliflower into the liquid and cover tightly with foil. Carefully transfer to the oven and let bake for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Ultimately, the time will depend on how thick the ‘steaks’ are and your oven.
- Test the ‘steaks’ periodically. When a knife goes in somewhat easily the cauliflower is done. Note: The cauliflower should be cooked through, but still a bit firm. If it’s too soft, it will fall apart during frying.
To Serve the Cauliflower Steaks:
- Once the cauliflower is ready, carefully remove the foil from the baking dish, making sure you don’t burn yourself from the steam.
- At this point, remove the ‘steaks’ from the liquid and place onto a plate lined with paper towel. Blot the top of the cauliflower with paper towel as well. This step helps ensure you get a nice golden crust.
- Next, heat a large fry pan—or better yet, a cast iron skillet—over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil, followed by the cauliflower. Let the cauliflower cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on each side. Try not to fiddle with the pieces too much, otherwise the ‘steaks’ will start to fall apart.
- Once done, toss the red pepper strips with a bit of the chimichurri sauce and place a small handful of the strips on top of each piece of cauliflower. Drizzle the plate with a bit more sauce and serve with additional chimichurri as desired.