Inexpensive and readily available, cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in vitamins C and K, potassium, manganese, folate, fiber and cancer-preventing glucosinolates. If you are (currently) not a fan of this cruciferous vegetable, perhaps it is because it wasn’t cooked properly. I say cooked because as much as I enjoy cauliflower, there is not enough sauce or dip that would entice me to eat it raw!
I pan-fry the cauliflower “steaks” and oven-roast the flowerets before pureeing, resulting in twice the texture and double the flavor. Layering the dynamic duo over a bed of sautéed swiss chard and onions creates a visually-appealing, full-of-flavor vegetarian meal that is perfect for those meatless meals during Lent.
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for roasting, frying and final drizzle
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- Cut the onion in half and then into thin slices.
- In a sauté pan, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil for 10 minutes. The onions should be tender and translucent. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t brown and then transfer to another dish.
- To cut the chard, trim 1/4-inch off the ends and discard, then stack several of the leaves with stocks, one on top of the other and then slice them crosswise into ribbons. Repeat until you’ve cut the entire bunch. I prefer to wash leafy greens, such as chard and kale, after I cut them because I feel that they get a more thorough cleaning. Place the cut chard into a large bowl with cool water and using your hands, swish them around. Scoop out the greens into a colander and rinse again. Unless you have a very large bowl and colander to carry out this task, which I do not, do this in batches. Let the greens drain.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and add half of the chard then sauté until wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and fresh ground black pepper. Transfer the greens to the dish with the onions and garlic.
- Add the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and cook the remainder of the chard. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add to the rest of the chard and onions.
- Using a sharp, heavy knife and starting at the top center of the cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through the stem end. Set aside.
- Cut the remaining cauliflower into florets, toss with a bit of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and salt. Roast in preheated 350* 45 minutes, until lightly golden and tender.
- Transfer slightly cooled florets to a blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth and pulse. Add the remainder broth a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Recipe can be made in advance up to this point. Simple reheat the chard and onions as well as the cauliflower puree.
- Using a heavy, large ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil and cook the slices of cauliflower until golden brown on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until tender, about 10 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, spoon chard and onion mixture on a platter (or on individual dinner plates), top with cauliflower puree. Carefully, top the plate with the cauliflower steaks. Drizzle with olive oil.