Cauliflower Steak with Walnut-Caper Salsa
So many little steps - from frying the capers & toasting the walnuts, zesting two lemons & measuring out tahini (it's never cooperative!)...little details that make the dish truly unforgettable, even though it's ALL vegetables!
• ⅓ cup walnuts
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
• 1 Fresno chile, seeds removed, finely chopped (see my note below)
• 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon dried currants
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• Kosher salt
Cauliflower And Assembly
• 1 small head of cauliflower
• Kosher salt
• 1 garlic clove, finely grated
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons tahini
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 sprigs oregano
• 2 3-inch strips lemon zest
• Lemon wedges (for serving)
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 7–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425° for roasting cauliflower.
Heat oil and capers in a small saucepan over medium, swirling often, until capers burst and are golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour oil and capers into a small heatproof bowl; let cool. Mix in walnuts, chile, parsley, currants, vinegar, and lemon zest; season with salt.
*Regarding the Fresno chile: it's a step below a jalapeno, so that can be easily substituted. I chose not to chop my jalapeno because I only wanted the flavor, not the heat. So I let it steep in the hot oil with the capers so infuse the oil with the flavor. Since the heat lives in the membrane that attaches the seed to the pepper, you can even lightly score the outside of your chile to infuse even more flavor into the oil without the heat.
*Also, I could not find dried currants, so I used golden raisins.
Do Ahead: Salsa can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic, pressing directly onto surface and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Cauliflower and Assembly
Begin boiling salted water in a large saucepan. Remove only the toughest outer leaves from cauliflower (leave on any tender inner leaves). Trim stem to create a flat base. Resting cauliflower on stem, cut in half from top to bottom, creating two lobes with stem attached. Trim outer rounded edge of each piece to create two 1½"-thick "steaks" (the stem should hold the florets together); set steaks aside. Very coarsely chop remaining florets. Cook florets in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, 6–8 minutes. Drain well, then process in a food processor with garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and 1 Tbsp. water until smooth; season with salt. Set aside.
*I mince my garlic with a microplane rather than chop it.
Using a vegetable peeler, gently peel two 3-inch strips of lemon zest. If you get any of the white membrane on the zest, scrape it off. When it cooks, it creates a bitterness that cannot be removed or hidden.
Heat oil in a large ovensafe skillet over medium-high. Add butter and swirl until melted, then add cauliflower steaks, oregano, and lemon zest. Cook, gently lifting up cauliflower occasionally to let hot fat run underneath, until steaks are deep golden brown (if oregano or lemon start to burn, place on top of steaks). Turn steaks and season with salt. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until cauliflower stems are fork-tender, 10–15 minutes.
To serve, spoon about ⅓ cup cauliflower purée onto plates and place steaks on top. Spoon salsa over and sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
*Original recipe, by Yotam Ottolenghi, posted at BonAppetit.com .
With the leftover puree & salsa, mix them together and use as a dip or a sandwich spread.