This simple preparation provides a substantial base to your favorite sauces and toppings.
Cauliflower steaks allow you to load on the sauce and toppings in a way that traditional florets can’t. This avocado and cilantro sauce with cotija cheese is light and summery, but you could change the toppings with the seasons (see Variations). Serve these steaks alongside salmon or serve two cauliflower steaks per person for a vegetarian meal.
For the cauliflower steaks
4 cauliflower steaks; cut in ½ inch slices, reserve any additional florets that fall from the head as you slice
3 tablespoons avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ear of corn, shucked
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
For the Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
¼ cup unsweetened coconut cream
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or heat a gas grill on high while you prepare the steaks. Alternatively, heat a grill pan on the stovetop over high heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch 2 of the cauliflower steaks for about 40 seconds, then transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower steaks and any extra florets that are left after cutting the steaks. Drizzle the blanched cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Season the ear of corn with the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Set a grill mat or piece of aluminum foil on the grill and place the steaks, florets, and corn on top. Grill the steaks and florets for about 5 minutes per side, until the steaks are browned and charred. Transfer to the baking sheet. Flip the corn every 3 minutes. Once it has char spots and is a brighter yellow, about 9 minutes, remove from the grill and place on the baking sheet.
While the cauliflower and corn are grilling, make the sauce: The coconut cream should be smooth; if it’s not, warm it in a microwave for about 30 seconds and stir it until it appears milky. Alternatively, you can warm it in a small pot over medium heat, whisking until smooth.
Place the coconut cream, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic cloves, and salt in a food processor. Process for 10 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides, then process for another 5 to 10 seconds, until combined and smooth. Set aside.
Once the corn has cooled, stand the ear upright on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut the kernels away from the cob.
Transfer the cauliflower steaks to plates. Place a dollop of the avocado-cilantro sauce on each steak. Top with the extra florets, corn kernels, crumbled cotija, and chopped cilantro.
In fall, top cauliflower steaks with pumpkin spice pecan topping (process 1 cup raw pecans, ⅓ cup refined coconut oil, 2 tablespoons agave nectar, ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt in a food processor for about 30 seconds until combined and smooth), toasted pepitas, and dried cranberries.
In colder weather, try the steaks with melted Gruyère cheese, fried prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, and chopped fresh sage.
Excerpted with permission from Cauliflower Power by Lindsay Grimes Freedman (Artisan Books). Copyright 2019.