Sunday, 15 December 2013

Cauliflower Steak and Capers

"How do you come up with stories for your posts?"

Well, I sometimes don't and that's why I haven't updated in so long.  That and exams got in the way.  I'm just procrastinating now, well, no, I can't even call it procrastinating anymore, this is just called jeopardizing my future.

Anyway, I try to have a story at least remotely related to the food I'm posting about each time.  As interesting as my exciting tales in the library are as a student, I understand that not everyone appreciates them in a food blog.

I can usually link the central ingredient of a dish to a memory, and I'm honestly finding it difficult to think of something cauliflowery.  I don't think I ever really had much as a child in either Chinese or Italian cooking.   I had always confused broccoli and cauliflower as a child.  In Southern Italy I swear we interchange the terms, and in Mandarin one's called "green vegetable flower" and the other "white vegetable flower" (literally).  I didn't know that there was a clear distinction between the two. 

Sorry, that's the best story I've got relating to cauliflowers. 
I was trying to follow Bon Appetit's recipe but it was turning out to be quite bland.  See, in the recipe the cauliflower puree is made with cauliflower, milk, water, salt and pepper and that's it.  It was a bit bland for me.  Maybe with top quality cauliflower it'd be better, but with my little supermarket cauliflower, I felt the need to add things.   I understand that you don't want to overpower the cauliflowers because it's a delicate flavor, but just a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, butter, capers, oregano and smoked salt can only make things better. Just a touch of each. 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit 
Serves 1
1 small head of cauliflower
olive oil
smoked salt flakes

Preheat oven to 150C.  Using sharp heavy knife and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut one 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.

 Cut the remaining florets up to measure to about 3 cups and place in a medium saucepan with about 2 cups of milk and a bay leaf.  Bring to boil and cook until florets are similar.  Strain, reserve the liquid and place the cauliflowers on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until slightly dry.

Transfer florets to blender and blend, adding bits of the cooking liquid until you reach a desired consistency.  Add also a generous knob of butter and some salt and pepper at the end. 

Put an ovenproof skillet over the stove over high heat.  Brush cauliflower steak with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  When the skillet is hot, add the cauliflower and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Then transfer the skillet to oven and bake until tender, about 10 minutes. 

Reheat the cauliflower puree in a sauce pan.  Then spread it on a plate, top with cauliflower steak, drizzle with some olive oil and a couple of roughly chopped capers.  Sprinkle with a touch of oregano and with some salt flakes on top, preferably smoked salt flakes -- if you haven't try smoked salt flakes, you're in for a treat. 

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