There's no shortage of cauliflower dishes on Los Angeles restaurant menus. Perhaps you've had the cauliflower and raisins at Otium, or the porridge of cauliflower and millet at Odys & Penelope on La Brea Avenue. Or maybe you've had the cauliflower tacos at Colonia Tacos in Whittier.
But do you have a favorite cauliflower recipe to make at home?
With its rich, smoky — and, dare we say, "meaty" — flavor, this grilled cauliflower recipe from The Wallace in Culver City is one of the best vegetable preparations, ever. The humble brassica is simply brushed with rosemary olive oil, then baptized with a Parmesan cream sauce and sprinkled with almond bread crumbs. And if you just left out the Worcestershire sauce (which contains anchovies), the dish would be a star at any vegetarian meal, perfect for Meatless Monday. Try it once, and you'll definitely be making this again.
THE WALLACE'S GRILLED CAULIFLOWER
Note: Adapted from a recipe by owner and executive chef Michael Teich, who stresses, "The real key to this recipe is having a very hot grill and allowing the cauliflower to cook. Don't be afraid if it begins to char, that's what you want and where all the flavor is going to come from. Really, think of it as if you are grilling a steak and not a vegetable."
ALMOND BREAD CRUMBS
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. Toast the bread crumbs over moderate heat in a dry skillet on the stove until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes (or spread out on a rimmed baking sheet in a 325-degree oven for 5 minutes). Stir the bread crumbs occasionally, watching that they do not burn. In the same manner, toast the almonds until aromatic and slightly darkened, 2 to 3 minutes, or 10 to 15 minutes in the oven.
2. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are reduced to the size of bread crumbs, then combine in a bowl with the bread crumbs, folding in the Parmesan cheese and parsley. This makes a scant cup of topping. Set aside.
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a blender, combine the crème fraîche, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, combining to a smooth cream. Set aside.
ROSEMARY GARLIC OIL
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 cloves grated garlic
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the oil, rosemary and garlic. Set aside.
1 cauliflower, cut into 4 to 5 "steaks," keeping the core intact so they don't fall apart on the grill
Salt and pepper
Rosemary garlic oil
Almond bread crumbs
Fried rosemary sprigs, if desired, for garnish
Capers, if desired, for garnish
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.
2. Season both sides of the cauliflower "steaks" with salt and pepper, then brush with the rosemary garlic oil. Place the steaks on the grill and cook as you would a steak, grilling until they develop a good char and begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. If the steaks are coloring too quickly and you are afraid they will burn, adjust the heat of the grill or move them to a cooler area to cook. Brush the steaks again and flip over, grilling the other side. The total grilling time should be 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the grill.
3. Remove the steaks and transfer to a cutting board, cutting off the florets. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and toss with the Parmesan cream and a little more rosemary garlic oil.
4. Mound on a serving plate while still warm. Garnish with almond bread crumbs (you may not use all of them), along with fried rosemary and capers if desired. Serve immediately.
Calories 217; Protein 8 grams; Carbohydrates 11 grams; Fiber 3 grams; Fat 16 grams; Saturated fat 5 grams; Cholesterol 22 mg; Sugar 3 grams; Sodium 270 mg.
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