Crisp fried cauliflower. A soft creamy purée. The toothsome crunch of toasted seeds.
vegetable stock 2 cups/480ml
cauliflower 2 lb 2 oz/1kg
fresh white breadcrumbs
parsley leaves ½ cup/10g
pumpkin seeds 3 tablespoons
fresh horseradish 1 tablespoon
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Trim the cauliflower, then cut into “steaks” about ¾ inch/2cm thick. Lower these into the boiling stock, then decrease the heat so that the stock simmers. Partially cover the pan with a lid and let cook till the cauliflower is soft enough to pierce effortlessly with a skewer — a matter of fifteen minutes or so.
While the cauliflower cooks, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a shallow pan, then add the breadcrumbs and cook till golden, constantly stirring and tossing so they color evenly. Roughly chop the parsley and pumpkin seeds, and fold into the breadcrumbs with the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Blend half the cauliflower steaks to a smooth cream in a blender or food processor with approximately half the hot stock, seasoning as you go.
Warm a glug or two of olive oil in a frying pan, lower in the reserved, cooked cauliflower slices, carefully drained, and fry till golden. Gently turn and cook the other side till lightly crisp around the edges. They may fall apart a little, no matter. Divide the cauliflower purée between two plates, slip the fried cauliflower on top, then season with the crumbs and seeds.
Tips and tricks:
Keeping the slices of cauliflower on the thick side will help the slices hold together. The pieces that stand proud in the stock and cook in the steam are the ones to fry. Those that cook under the liquid are the ones to purée. They will absorb some of the flavors of your stock.
Snippets of crisp bacon, pancetta, or pork crackling could be introduced to the breadcrumb and parsley crumble. A trickle of cream and a handful of grated Pecorino would be a worthwhile addition to the cauliflower purée. The sauce, topped with a little grated Parmesan, could be spooned over the cauliflower and broiled, to create a toasted crust.
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