This comes from Joshua McFadden’s “Six Seasons” – highly recommended if you don’t already have it. We did a few small tweaks to it, but it really hit the spot on a rainy winter’s night alongside a great salad. Being a cauliflower fan doesn’t hurt with this one but the pickled peppers (which Peter can pick or not, your choice) give both a bite and a tang to this. The “steak” is really just a pre-cooked thick slab of cauliflower that provided the underlying vehicle for the rest of the yumminess, that includes, yes, more cauliflower.
For x4 servings you’ll need x2 cauliflower heads, 1/2 cup pickled red peppers (we used Mama Lil’s and we did not get the hot ones), 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (chopped), 1/3 cup pitted black olives, 1/4 cup capers, 1/3 cup bread crumbs, 1/3 fresh parsley (chopped), 1 cup grated gruyere cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat the over to 425.
First, trim the cauliflower by cutting out the core and trimming the bottom so that its flat surface and can rest on the cutting board evenly. Then trim the sides by about 1/2″ to 1″ off from each edge. Cut the cauliflower into 3/4″ wide slices – you should get x3 or 4 of them from each head, depending on its size, and x1 o2 of them may fall apart. But that’s ok. Hopefully you can get x4 solid steaks from the x2 heads.
Place these steaks on a large place or baking sheet and brush all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip over to their other side and repeat the process.
Place a lightly greased but empty baking sheet large enough to hold all 4 steaks into the preheated oven for 10 mins. Remove and place the steaks onto the sheet and place quickly back into the oven. Roast for 18 mins, or until golden on each side but still somewhat firm, turning the steaks once midway through.
In a small skillet heat about 3 Tbsp olive oil (you can add a further 1 Tbsp unsalted butter too if you like) over medium heat and then sautée the chopped mushrooms until just starting to brown – about 5-8 mins.
Meanwhile, place about 1/3 of your cauliflower “trimmings” (chopped small) into a large bowl and add in bread crumbs, peppers, capers, parsley, 1/2 of the grated gruyere, sautéed mushrooms and about 1/3 cup olive oil (to hold it all together). Toss all of this together with a wooden spoon.
Once your cauliflower steaks have been pre-cooked, remove them from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and add your pepper/mushroom/caper mix on to the top of each steak. Press down and compress the mixture so that you can fit more on top of each.
(You can pause the process here, and place this whole baking sheet, covered, in the fridge until you want to cooks it fully later).
Top each steak with the rest of the grated gruyere and return to the oven to roast for a further 10-15 mins until golden brown (a touch longer if you have taken it from the fridge and it is cold).
Serve with salad and enjoy.