On trend: Cauliflower steaks

Cauliflower steak kaleandale.com

Cauliflower steak with portobello and Parmesan.

At the beginning of the year, when dining at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, I noticed the features vegetarian offering, a cauliflower “steak.” What was this veggie steak? How could a vegetable best known served cold with a ranch or sour cream dip be elevated to a premier vegetarian meal at a hot Miami Beach restaurant? This was a new concept to me. So I asked, and they told. They cook it in a cast-iron skillet with flavorings to infuse it, and a brick on top to give it a great, charred look and flavor. Sold! I had it, and I loved it.

Fast forward eight months to a work trip in, of all places, Dayton, Ohio. The place we went for dinner, Wheat Penny Oven and Bar, also had a cauliflower steak on the menu. I saw that, asked if it was vegetarian and (upon confirmation) quickly said it was what I wanted, excited this exotic meal was about to be back in my belly.

As I had the same meal at a second restaurant, I realized, since cauliflower is pretty bland, the glaze, flavorings and toppings are what will set it apart at any restaurant. And I realized it couldn’t be too hard to make at home with a little planning. So when I found the recipe in the Cooking Light and Hy-Vee magazines, I knew it had gone mainstream and become a “thing,” so it was time to try it out.

Both recipes are easy and similar, and honestly I mixed and matched the two, so I’m not going to post a recipe (but click the links for the Cooking Light and Hy-Vee recipes). I used a butter/olive oil/garlic mixture to oil my cauliflower, and my only advice is to do a better job than I did keeping the stem on at the bottom. I sliced it right off to begin out of habit. I grilled some portobello caps and topped with Parmesan cheese. With a nice salad, it’s a simple, healthy, light meal.

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