Sunday, October 14, 2018

Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Marinara and Parmesan

As the days grow shorter and the nights chillier most people think pumpkin spice. My mind screams CAULIFLOWER!

You always knew I wasn't like the other children...

Yes, the white orb beckons me with its promise of nutty buttery goodness. While roasting it is sublime, waiting for the oven to heat up and then waiting for the florets to cook seems to take forever. Then I realized that pan searing and steaming would work just as well and in record time!

Adding a red sauce and grated parmesan isn't probably your first thought of what to do with that gorgeous cauliflower you scored at the farmers' market, but have faith, it totally works! Searing it in a heavy skillet (cast iron works admirably), and covering it so that it steams in the oil and its own juices, produces a tender but charred cauliflower "steak" that marries beautifully with a plain marinara sauce and lots of parmesan. 

The inspiration came from laziness, not surprisingly. Cauliflower parmesan was a dish the New York Times foodies introduced me to - breading cauliflower florets, baking them and then re-baking them smothered in red sauce and cheese. But while breading is always a good choice, sometimes I am just not up for the extra work. So this shortcut was born. Trust me, you will devour it!

Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Marinara and Parmesan
(serves 2)

1 large head cauliflower
1 cup marinara sauce
oil for cooking
grated parmesan for topping

Heat a large heavy bottom skillet with a cover over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Carefully cut out the core of the cauliflower taking care that the whole stays intact. Make 1/2 inch slices of "steaks" across the cauliflower, cutting carefully so the steak stays together. Add enough oil to coat the bottom well. Place steaks in the skillet and cover. Cook 4-5 minutes per side to get a nice browned effect, adding more oil as need to ensure the browning. Turn cauliflower 1-2 times, shaking the moisture out of the cover to help steam the cauliflower. 

Meanwhile heat marinara sauce over low. When cauliflower is tender to a fork inserted in it, plate with sauce on top and as much grated parmesan as you like.


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