Truth be told: I cannot cook a steak properly! I know, I know…they’re easy. It’s not rocket science. But, I do not have a grill and finding just the right spot on my broiler has eluded me! Steaks are my culinary Achilles heal. My family has come to expect one of two scenarios when they see a steak up for dinner: either it will still be mooing in the middle or it will be tough as cow hide. There’s rarely (that’s kind of a pun!) a middle ground.
Thankfully, over the past year, I have found a steak that I can totally cook to perfection. This steak is like a blank slate just waiting to be filled. It is versatile, delicious, and good for you to boot!
Is this a Porterhouse? No.
I’m talking cauliflower. Cauliflower? Oh, yes, cauliflower steaks.
Cauliflower is by far my favorite vegetable, and cauliflower steaks are just one of many unique ways to prepare it.
I’ve tried my hand at cauliflower steaks before, but this time, I wanted to change things up and go with a roasted steak. Roasting just about any vegetable brings out such a wonderful earthy sweetness, you may never want to boil or steam again.
The very first thing you will need to navigate is the actual cutting of the cauliflower steaks. The perfect head of cauliflower should be medium to large in size with tightly bunched florets. If the florets are already loose, your steaks will most certainly fall apart.
Begin by removing the outer leaves. Next, trim off a bit of the stalk. Do not trim much. The stem holds everything together so keep as much of it intact as possible. Sit the head of cauliflower upright on the stem. Next, using a large sharp knife trim off one end. Then begin slicing your steaks. Each steak should be roughly 1/2″ thick. You run the risk of the florets coming loose if you cut thinner steaks. That’s it.
Now that you have your steaks cut, you are ready to fill these blank canvasses. For this recipe, I’ve opted to roast my cauliflower steaks with parmesan cheese and Italian herbs. I then prepared a traditional Caponata. Caponata is an eggplant based dish with sweet, salty, and sour notes. I love it, and it is the perfect topping for my parmesan roasted steaks.
Many Caponata dishes call for tomato paste. Why use tomato paste when you can use sun-dried tomatoes? Replace that tin-can taste with the delicious taste of herb marinated sun dried tomatoes. You’ll be glad you did. I use Bella Sun Luci’s Sun Dried Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Italian Herbs. We love them so much I indulge in the Costco size jar!
For this recipe, I’ve blended together a bit of very good quality jarred tomato sauce with a hefty portion of oil packed sun dried tomatoes. The thick, hearty “sauce” that emerges serves as the perfect base to build my flavors off of.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sun Dried Tomato and Eggplant Caponata
4 center cut cauliflower steaks 1/4-1/2″ thick cut from 1 large head of cauliflower or 2 small heads of cauliflower
4 Tablespoons olive oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 cup Bella Sun Luci Premium California Sun Dried Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Italians Herbs
3/4 cup very good quality jarred tomato sauce
1 cup finely diced red onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cups finely diced eggplant
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons golden raisins
2 teaspoons finely chopped capers
10 Kalamata Olives, pitted, finely chopped
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves, packed
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a stainless steel baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut 4 cauliflower steaks, 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. The best slices come from the center of the head of cauliflower. It is preferable to use a very large cauliflower. However, you may opt to use 2 small/medium cauliflowers and cut 2 steaks from each. Reserve the remaining florets for use at a later time. Place the steaks onto the baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the cauliflower steaks with the reserved olive oil.
In a small bowl combine the 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the tops of the cauliflower steaks with 1/2 tablespoon of the parmesan mixture. Gently pat down.
Using a spatula carefully flip the steaks over. Brush the tops with the remaining reserved olive oil, and top each with 1/2 tablespoon of the Parmesan mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully flip the steaks over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the tomato sauce and Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried tomatoes into a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth. Set aside.
Saute the diced onion and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan for 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Trim the ends from one small eggplant. Cut into 1/4″ slices. Then dice into small 1/4″ cubes. Add to the saucepan with the onions. Saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring very frequently.
Add the sun dried tomato and tomato sauce mixture to the pan. Stir in the garlic salt, ground black pepper, balsamic vinegar, golden raisins, chopped capers, Kalamata Olives, granulated sugar, fresh basil, and chopped fresh Italian parsley. Stir together. Cook over low/medium heat for 8-10 minutes, being sure to stir frequently. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream.
Remove the cauliflower steaks from the oven. Plate. Top each steak with 1/3 cup of the caponata. Sprinkle the top of each with 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, and a bit of chopped basil or parsley. Serve immediately.