Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée

By • February 12, 2013 • 38 Comments

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Author Notes: There are plenty of cauliflower steaks out there on the internet, but we're partial to this recipe from farm-to-table genius Dan Barber -- true to his mission, it's the fullest celebration of cauliflower's talents. Barber uses every part of the buffalo, as they say, and adds almost nothing to distract you. He brings together the nutty crisped edges you get from roasting, and the unearthly creaminess of a purée (whipping up cauliflower's natural pectin turns it creamy even without dairy). Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit (February 2008).Genius Recipes

Serves 2

  • One 1 1/2-pound head of cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Using sharp heavy knife and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.
  2. Cut enough florets from remaining cauliflower head to measure 3 cups. Combine florets, water, and milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. Transfer florets to blender. Add half of the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Add more of the liquid if desired, and puree again. Return puree to same saucepan.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium heat. Divide puree between 2 plates; top each with cauliflower steak.
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6 months ago michelle_a

Incredibly simple & delightful recipe. I did have to keep the cauliflower in the cast iron much longer on each side (about 6-9 mins per) to really brown them, which in turn cut down the time in the oven. I added capers & fresh lemon juice to the puree as well, which brightened up the dish. Next time, I'd add a meaty protein to really make this a robust meal; but this was very lovely as is.

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8 months ago Ellen Francis

This recipe looks great except that I don't use milk---has anyone tried this with milk alternatives? Another great variation is my Cauliflower Steaks Topped with Savory Quinoa and Caramelized Onions! Take a look...http://veganamericanprincess...

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8 months ago lalf

see "lalf" below.

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8 months ago Andochina

I've made mashed potatoes with just water and good olive oil and it came out great, I would think that could work with the cauliflower as well for a completely vegan meal.

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8 months ago Andochina

This was some hot cauliflower-on-cauliflower action. I made it as is, and served with roasted brussell sprouts, which were also great on top of the puree. Can also be experimented with endlessly. A great vegetarian dish.

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10 months ago Sarah Angileri

I love the simplicity of this dish, but I decided to borrow the technique and complicate the flavors a bit more: toasted walnuts and honey to the purée, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses glazing the top of the steak. For color and bite, I made a gremolata with parsley, lemon, pink peppercorn, and garlic.

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10 months ago togroak [Grace van Velden]

sarah - well this is just happenstance and happy chances. love your take on the dish! i'm giving this lovely recipe a go but with a bit of caramelized onion, goat cheese, and also, toasted walnuts. side salad of shredded brussel sprouts, heirloom toms, muscats, and blood orange+shallot dressing.

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10 months ago Shannon

I used unsweetened almond milk instead of the whole milk and let the cauliflower florets cook until most of the liquid was gone (took less than 20 minutes) and then used an immersion blender to puree what was left in the pot (instead of straining, saving liquid, blending). Added some soy free earth balance to the puree to make it more creamy. I left the cauliflower steaks in the oven for an extra 10-20 minutes and sprinkled with a bit of garlic salt once cooked. Great meal!

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10 months ago pkpk

Great Recipe ! I made it with a little modification, I fried and baked the cauliflower and used thousand island dressing for the source. Try it.

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about 1 year ago allans

okay - so I've been staring at this recipe and beautiful picture for a week, got a gorgeous head of cauliflower and made it as written for tonight's meal. EXCELLENT! So simple, yet so satisfying. This is going to be a mainstay in my rotation. Thanks!

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over 1 year ago kgindermaur

Like lalf below, I ended up baking the steaks for slightly longer than recommended. The whole milk/cauliflower puree was velvety, rich, and satisfying!

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over 1 year ago Ellen Williams

Wonderful - I added fresh corn to the puree - then topped the cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce. Paired with a tomato, cucumber, and Greek olives salad, it was a delicious dinner!

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over 1 year ago lalf

I just made this tonight, with a lovely, sweet cauliflower from the farmers' market. Followed directions exactly but found I definitely needed more minutes over the medium-high heat to achieve that rich brown caramelization in my non-stick pan. My steaks also needed few more minutes in the oven to be firm but done. I used almond milk (Trader Joe's) in place of the milk. The resulting sauce was velvety thick, fluffy and rich. Truly beautiful dish, and most satisfying! We loved it.

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over 1 year ago EmHaleVT

Excellent. As previous comments stated, we served this as a side dish. The plating looked beautiful with the white purée base, salmon, a half cauliflower tree, and sautéed leeks and greens. The dish was quick and easy and I will absolutely make this again.

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over 1 year ago barbara960

I am making this right now- I think I'll add a piccata twist to the steaks with a little lemon juice and capers.

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over 1 year ago spatula

I am going to use your suggestion, Barbara 960, plus top them with a fried egg.

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over 1 year ago ReeceAmy

OMG - this is amazing! Made it for lunch. Put the steaks on a bed of Mujaddara (lentils, brown rice, carmelized onions) and a salad with a tangy vinaigrette. So good. Next time I may add a drop of truffle oil to the steaks.

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over 1 year ago Gail Hicks

What a great idea! I love mujaddara!

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over 1 year ago Gail Hicks

I made this tonight for dinner as a side to roasted chicken. It was so easy and tasted divine! The contrasting textures are just wonderful… silky purée and nutty, caramelized ‘steak’. My husband asked if I could make the “gravy” on Sunday morning to serve over biscuits!

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over 1 year ago caroline0ne

I loved this and it was gorgeous; but I would want to serve an entree on the plate with it. Any ideas for an entree?

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over 1 year ago saltandserenity

I made it for dinner one night and topped it with some fried eggs. The creamy yolk was very delicious mixed into the puree!

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over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I think a braised meat with a rich, winey sauce to mix into the puree would be amazing. Or if you want to stay vegetarian, in the original article I recommended a lentil salad on the side.

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over 1 year ago melatron

So simple, affordable, beautiful and delicious! I made a blackening spice from chili powder, paprika, nutmeg and s&p for the steaks and topped the whole thing with sauteed golden beet greens with anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce and sesame oil. Gave a nice richness to the dish.

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almost 2 years ago Ole Andreas Hoen

Add grated nutmeg to the pureé - makes it taste like bechamél sauce, it's delectable!

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almost 2 years ago Renée (RJ Flamingo) Joslyn

I made just the steaks, last night (didn't have time to make the purée), and they were absolutely delicious! My husband couldn't believe that it was only a little canola oil, salt and pepper. Next time, I'll make the purée, but the cauliflower steaks were perfect!

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almost 2 years ago ejm

so, maybe it is gilding the lily; but, after preparing my steaks I made a quick topping by putting the pan back on the stove after the steaks were done, adding a bit of olive oil, panko and capers and topped the steaks once the panko was toasted. Really good!

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almost 2 years ago Lionessg

Some roasted beets would make for a delicious taste and color contrast with this dish. I can't wait to try it!