Why not treat a piece of cauliflower with the care and attention you would give a great cut of steak?? You might not miss the meat. After you make the “steaks, “you will have some leftover cauli crumbs and florets from cutting the steaks; roast them as a side dish, or purée for another meal.
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 sage leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
Make the bread crumbs:
Melt the butter in a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and salt and cook, stirring, until golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cool for a minute, then toss in the cheese and cayenne.
Prepare the cauliflower “steaks”:
Remove the leaves from the cauli head and trim the stem just enough so that the head will sit flat on a cutting board. Using a long sharp knife, cut four ½-inch steaks off the head of cauliflower (these will mostly come from the center part with stem underneath, so don’t worry if the sides fall away as you cut before you get to the ideal steak-y part of the cauli head). Reserve the non-steak pieces of cauliflower for another use. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle both sides with the salt, and set aside.
Cook the “steaks”:
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the butter and oil to the warmed skillet, then working in batches, add the cauliflower steaks and garlic to the skillet, arrange the sage leaves on top of the steaks and cook until the garlic is golden, the sage is crisped and each side of the cauli is browned and the cauliflower can be pierced with a skewer, 4 to 5 minutes per side. As the steaks are cooking, take a large spoon while tilting the pan to pool the melted butter in a corner and spoon the butter-oil mixture over the top of steaks, continuing to do so until steaks are finished (this is called pan-basting).
Arrange the cauliflower steaks and garlic cloves on a serving platter. Season with salt, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and top with the crispy sage leaves.