Everyone loves a good, tangy piccata sauce with that smooth, buttery finish. Golden fried cauliflower “steaks” are the perfect stand-in for meat when you want to keep it vegetarian or add extra fiber, and it cooks just as quickly as chicken. See the end notes for an easy gluten free option.
- 2 heads of cauliflower (about 4 lbs. total), leaves removed, not cored
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 2/3 C all-purpose flour
- Kosher or sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 6 T olive oil
- 4 T butter
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1/2 C vegetable stock
- 1/2 C dry white wine (or more vegetable stock)
- 1/4 C lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 2 T small capers, drained
- 1/4 C finely chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 275 (F). Set each cauliflower on its core as a base and cut it in half. Continue cutting 1/2″ slices in the same direction. Hold the slabs together as best you can, and gather the smaller chunks that fall off (see photos). Place slabs and pieces on a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet. Spray all over with olive oil spray, then gently turn over and spray the other side. On a dinner plate, mix flour plus a pinch of salt and pepper and dredge each cauliflower piece in it, tapping off the excess flour and returning to the wire rack.
- Heat a large (12″) skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high. Add a third of the cauliflower (or as much as will fit in a single layer) and cook about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown. Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining cauliflower in two more batches, adding a tablespoon of oil to the skillet after each batch. If cauliflower begins browning too quickly, reduce heat slightly. Place pan of cauliflower in the preheated oven while you make the sauce.
- Add a tablespoon each of oil and butter to the skillet, and heat over medium until butter melts. Add shallots and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Add lemon slices, stock, and wine to the pan. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, then cook about 5 minutes, until slightly reduced. Add lemon juice and capers to pan and simmer another minute. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks. Season with salt (not much is needed, since the capers are salty) and plenty of pepper, then stir in 3 tablespoons parsley.
- Arrange a fourth of the cauliflower on each plate (or all of it on a big platter) and distribute lemon slices evenly over all. Spoon sauce over each plate, and garnish with remaining parsley.
If you don’t have a wire rack to put over the baking sheet, it’s fine, your cauliflower just won’t stay quite as crispy after searing.
I like the light flour dredge on the cauliflower steaks in this recipe, as it holds up well to the sauce both in texture and flavor. However, to make it gluten free (and save time), you could sear the cauliflower steaks in oil without the flour dredge.
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Italian