Q: I was hoping you could help get the recipe for the grilled cauliflower dish from the Wallace in Culver City, Calif. I could possibly consider going vegetarian to eat this dish every day.
– Nicole Hong, La Habra, Calif.
Dear Nicole: With its rich, smoky – and, dare I say, “meaty” – flavor, this grilled cauliflower is one of the best vegetable preparations I’ve tried in a long while. And if you just left out the Worcestershire sauce (which contains anchovies), I’m sure the dish would be a star at any vegetarian meal.
The Wallace’s Grilled Cauliflower
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup whole raw almonds
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Toast the breadcrumbs 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 breadcrumbs 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.
Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are reduced to the size of breadcrumbs, then combine in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, folding in the Parmesan cheese and parsley. This makes a scant cup of topping. Set aside.
¼ cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon Worcester shire sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a blender, combine the creme fraiche, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, combining to a smooth cream. Set aside.
Rosemary garlic oil
½ 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
Fried rosemary sprigs, if desired, for garnish
Capers, if desired, for garnish
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.
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.
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.
Mound on a serving plate while still warm. Garnish with almond breadcrumbs (you may not use all of them), along with fried rosemary and capers if desired. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
Each of 6 servings: calories, 217; protein, 8 gms; carbohydrates, 11 gms; fiber, 3 gms; fat, 16 gms; saturated fat, 5 gms; cholesterol, 22 mg; sugar, 3 gms; sodium, 270 mg.
– 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.”