I’d like to put my hands up and say that I’ve always loved cauliflower. Long before people were making rice and pizzas out of the stuff I still enjoyed it – even better if it was swimming in a heart-stopping cheese sauce. However, I love how popular it has become, with more inventive ways to serve this humble piece of veg, and often without my arteries hardening in its presence.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the eastern Mediterranean Strut and Cluck with some friends, one of whom told us that we had to get the cauliflower or else, that it was one of the most amazing things that she had ever tasted. So we did. It was roasted whole and coated in a combination of sharp yogurt and sweet pomegranate molasses with a dusting of spice. She was right, it was really very good, and it inspired me to up my own cauliflower game.
These cauliflower ‘steaks’ are thick slices of cauliflower coated in spice and roasted until soft and golden with the edges just starting to catch. The sweet earthiness of the spice and the nuttiness of the cauliflower are contrasted by a tangy lemon yogurt dressing that adds a refreshing element. Want to keep it vegan? Swap out the yogurt for a non-dairy alternative. Whilst I hear the argument that vegetarian food shouldn’t pretend to be meat, this isn’t trying to rival a slab of sirloin, but is delicious in its own right. Unfortunately Spiced Cauliflower Slices doesn’t really have the same ring to it, so if you can think of an alternative do let me know and I’m happy to adopt it.
Pile up the ‘steaks’ and have as a side, one each as a starter, or accompanied by a salad for a light lunch.
- 2 tsp Garam masala
- 2 tsp Ras el hanut
- 10 Cardamom pods
- 7 tsp Yogurt
- 2 tsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Begin by cutting two thick slices out of your cauliflower. For the steaks to stay structurally sound, the main stalk of the cauliflower must run through each, so the slices need to come from the centre. Any florets that fall off are then already pre-cut for your convenience, ready for your next meal. You can probably get 2-3 steaks out of a cauliflower, depending on its size.
- Generously apply olive oil to each steak before sprinkling each side of each slice with 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp ras el hanut as well as salt and pepper. Massage the mixture in well.
- Take 5 cardamom pods per slice and cut through the middle, although not so far as to go all the way through. Stud these around between the florets of the cauliflower to release their perfume.
- Place in an oven preheated at 200 degrees C for 40 mins, flipping over after 20. The steaks should be golden brown with crispy bits developing around the edges.
- Whilst the cauliflower is roasting combine the yogurt, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl and season to taste. If you want to make this ahead of time do – the longer you leave it the more lemony it will become.