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
Watch This Recipe
Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée
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
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium heat. Divide puree between 2 plates; top each with cauliflower steak.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.