By Joshua McFadden from his book Six Seasons
(depending on the shape of your head of cauliflower and how many “steaks” you serve per person)
1 large head cauliflower (1 ½ -1 ¾ pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups dried breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
1 cup (3 ounces) aged provolone, shredded (grated on large holes of a box grater)
Plus ¼ cup finely grated provolone for dusting (cheddar, mozzarella, or swiss are delicious too)
½ cup chopped pickled sweet hot peppers
1/3 cup chopped mixed pitted olives (kalamata, green)
¼ cup capers
¾ cup lightly packed roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Trim the bottom of the cauliflower so that it sits firmly on the cutting board. Trim off about ½ inch from two opposite sides (to flatten them), then cut the cauliflower into thick slabs. Use a large spatula when handling the slabs. This will help to keep them from falling apart. Brush both sides of each slab with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Chop the trimmings and set aside to use in the topping.
- Heat a baking pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Preheating the baking pan will help to brown the steaks on the bottom. Heat two if needed to cook the steaks without crowding.
- Using a spatula, lay the slabs on the preheated pan and return to the oven quickly. Roast the cauliflower until tender, but not falling apart, 18-20 minutes.
- While the steaks are roasting make the topping by mixing the breadcrumbs, shredded provolone, pickled peppers, olives capers, parsley lemon zest, and chopped cauliflower trimmings. Moisten with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, just to help the filling hold together. Taste the filling and season well. You should want to eat it all!
- Take out the baking pan again and distribute the topping among all the slabs, pressing the make a thick layer. Return the pan to the oven and roast until the topping is lightly browned and starting to crisp, 10-15 minutes.
- Using your spatula, transfer the slabs to plates and top with a dusting of finely grated provolone.
Variation to the above filling: (omitting the pickled peppers, olive, and capers) instead use 1 cup roughly chopped fresh mushrooms-cremini, portabella, button, ½ cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped, 1/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed. Follow the recipe as above.
Protein option: Place topping on slabs of fried tofu
Herb options: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
How can you use this topping?
Stuffing for peppers, zucchini
Topping for roasted portabella mushrooms, spaghetti squash, pasta