Cauliflower Steaks

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When I think of steaks, cauliflower does NOT come to mind. But, sometimes you judge something by how it looks, and that was exactly what happened here. I opened my Tasting Table email, saw the photo, and instantly decided that tonight I was having cauliflower steak.

The recipe called for a lot of ingredients, including a fancy pistou, which I now know means a cold olive chutney or sauce. Surprisingly I had everything in my pantry and figured it would be worth all the effort. And, it KIND OF was. The dish was as pretty as the original photo in that tempting email, and it tasted great, but it took a really, really long time to cook. First you bake, then you saute, and finally you eat, almost an hour and half later. By that time, you are really hungry and grumpy. I don't mind waiting an hour and half to eat, but not for cauliflower steak!

So if you have lots of time, or are vegetarian and can't enjoy a real steak, this is a great recipe, full of flavor. But, as someone who can enjoy a juicy rib eye, I think next time, I'll skip all the oven stuff and throw these pretend steaks into my cast iron to cook up in 20 minutes.
Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Pistou

1 head cauliflower, leaves and root end trimmed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Olive Pistou
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 oranges--peeled, segmented and coarsely chopped
¼ cup green olives (such as Manzanilla or Picholine), pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
pickled onions (my addition)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the cauliflower on a cutting board and slice in half vertically. Cut off any florets that do not connect to the cauliflower’s core, creating two “steaks” that are 1½ to 2 inches thick.
2. In a 9-by-11-inch baking dish, stir together the vegetable broth, wine, ¼ cup olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, bay leaf and salt. Add the cauliflower steaks and tightly wrap the pan in foil. Roast until the cauliflower is fork-tender, about 45 minutes. (It took me over an hour.)
3. While the cauliflower is roasting, make the olive pistou: In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, oranges, olives, raisins, garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and carefully unfold the aluminum foil to vent some steam. Then remove the foil completely and use a spatula to transfer the cauliflower steaks from the liquid in the pan to a paper-towel-lined plate. Blot the top of the cauliflower dry and set aside.
5. Set a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and once the oil shimmers, add the cauliflower steaks. Cook until golden-brown on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Serve warm with the olive pistou.

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