The idea to make this dish came about from Cooking Light's new blog series, the Cookbook Corner. After choosing a cookbook from a beautiful assortment of options, we were asked to prepare two recipes and write a short review. I was immediately drawn to Vegetarian Dinner Parties (for obvious reasons), and decided to tackle a trendy meat alternative—cauliflower "steaks." After all, I'm always looking for ways to make veggies the star of my dinner, and this seemed like a tasty way to do so.
Admittedly, I wasn't very good at cutting the cauliflower into large slices (cauliflower is fairly delicate, so the little florets had a tendency to break off). Regardless, the dish turned out fabulous. The slices are pan-seared, brushed with thai chili sauce, then finished in the oven for incredible crispiness. And we started with a sad-looking head of cauliflower. Pretty insane.
The cauliflower is served atop a sweet potato puree, which gets jazzed up with fresh ginger and apple cider. I was eating the puree with a spoon as I cooked—it's so unbelievably good. Overall, this dish is visually stunning, incredibly unique, and, most importantly, delicious. Perfect for serving to guests!
Sweet Potato and Ginger Puree with Chili-Glazed Cauliflower
For the puree:
- 1/2 tbsp. walnut oil
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple cider
For the cauliflower:
- 1 large cauliflower head
- 1/8 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
For the garnish (optional):
- Sprinkling of breadcrumbs
- Sprinkling of ground ginger cookies
- Sprinkling of fresh parsley
1Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the walnut oil. Add the onion, ginger, salt, and a few grinds freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the sweet potatoes, stir for 1 minute, then pour in the cider and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer about 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and mix until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the leaves off the head of cauliflower, then slice the head in half through the stem. Starting at the cut side of each half, cut 1/2-inch-thick slices. If it starts to break apart, that's ok—it doesn't really matter how big the slices are, as long as they aren't tiny florets.
Add 1 tbsp. peanut oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add 2 or 3 cauliflower slices to the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned and slightly blistered, about 8 minutes. Transfer the slices to a large rimmed baking sheet, and repeat the process (adding more oil as necessary) until all the slices have been pan-fried.
When all the cauliflower is on the baking sheet, brush them with the chili sauce (use as much or as little as you desire). Bake until tender and bubbling at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. If you want a crispier finish, finish the cauliflower under the broiler for a minute or two.
To serve, divide the sweet potato puree onto serving plates and top each with a cauliflower steak. For the garnish, combine equal parts panko breadcrumbs and coarsely ground gingersnap cookies and sprinkle over each steak. Additionally, sprinkle with parsley.
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties