After I finished roasting cauliflower with these flavors for the first time, my Mom and I ate it all like popcorn, and then went to the market to get two more heads of cauliflower to roast. The aromas in the house were so tantalizingly warm and savory we pretty much wanted to have some roasting all evening long. Enhancing these steaks is a white bean ragu with savory onions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of a quick sesame-chili oil. —Lauren Bradford
sesame oil, to be used separately
toasted sesame seeds
ground, toasted sesame seeds
red onion, diced small
red pepper flakes, to be used separately
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small frying pan, place all but 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes along with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Warm on the lowest heat setting on your stovetop until you are ready to plate, swishing gently from time to time.
Take 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds and grind in a spice or coffee grinder.
Rinse your cauliflower thoroughly, and remove the leaves. Firmly resting the cauliflower by its stem, carefully and slowly slice into the cauliflower top-down to create as many 1" steaks as possible. Sometimes it breaks apart at the outer edges; its a brittle vegetable and the flavor works just as well for cauliflower pieces.
Arrange the steaks and pieces together on a parchment-lined sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil around the cauliflower and then gently rub it over each piece.
Combine the ground sesame seeds with 1/2 teaspoons of the onion and garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle half over the cauliflower, and then place the seasoned side face-down on the pan and sprinkle the other half.
Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the cauliflower steaks and pieces over and place back in the oven. Turn down the heat and roast at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, as the cauliflower roasts, dice your red onion and place it in a medium-size sauce pan along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoons of the onion and garlic powder, and the water. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously for 5 minutes or until softened.
Drain and rinse the beans, and add into the pan. Stir gently to incorporate to keep the beans from getting too mushy, then bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low, continue to cook for 5 minutes, and turn off the heat.
Once the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven. To plate, put a generous scoop of the beans down first, then top with cauliflower and sprinkle with remaining toasted sesame seeds.