Monday, December 30, 2013

82 Queen's Cauliflower Steak with Confit Mushroom Pilaf, Herbed Tomatoes, Cheddar-Parsley Butter, and Fried Capers

We met Executive Corporate Chef Steven Lusby, Berkley Spivey, and the rest of the amazing crew of Charleston, South Carolina's 82 Queen while we were in NYC for our James Beard Foundation presentation at the beginning of December. Fate had us all cooking in the same kitchen that day. We were making 3 different snacks for 25 people, and they were making an 8-course dinner for 65 folks. Can you imagine the pressure? It didn't seem to wear on them at all. They were so gracious and amazing from the first second we met.

We knew we'd be all right when we discovered that they're all fellow Southerners. "We update Southern classics," chef told me of their cooking style. "Us, too!" I exclaimed "But with  vegetables." It was a great morning in the kitchen with those guys. We collectively brought our revised and curated versions of Southern cuisine up North to showcase. Our event was great, and Chef Spivey reports that their dinner that night was amazing, and they can't wait to be invited back. (Us, too!)

I was checking out the menu at 82 Queen and came across this amazing-looking vegetarian dish for cauliflower steak. They were kind enough to share the recipe with us so that we can share it with you. All of the components together make up one of the best vegetarian main dishes that we've had anywhere at anytime. The takeaway here is that you have 5 sub-recipes that can be pulled out and used separately in so many ways. That, we believe, is the hallmark of a great chef: each ingredient is considered so that each component has as much flavor as possible. Enjoy this one!

Cauliflower Steak with Confit Mushroom Pilaf, Herbed Tomatoes, Cheddar-Parsley Butter, and Fried Capers (82 Queen's recipe, revised for the home cook)

1 large head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Confit Mushroom Pilaf (recipe follows)
Herbed Tomatoes (recipe follows)
Cheddar-Parsley Butter (recipe follows)
Fried Capers (recipe follows)

Carefully remove all green leaves attached to the stem of the cauliflower and trim any unwanted brown spots. Slice the cauliflower from the bottom into two 1-inch steaks; make sure each steak has a connection with the stem to prevent crumbling. (Reserve the remaining cauliflower for the Confit Mushroom Pilaf in the accompanying recipe.) Season lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place each steak directly on a hot grill and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side, creating thatch marks. The cauliflower should be cooked through but still al dente. Lightly drizzle truffle oil equally over each cauliflower steak.

Assemble the dish by placing 1 1/2 cups of the Confit Mushrooms Pilaf in the center of a plate. Place a few of the Herbed Tomatoes off to the side. Top the pilaf with one Cauliflower Steak. Garnish the dish with a slice of Cheddar-Parsley Butter and Fried Capers. 

(Serves two.) 

*This dish can be made vegan by omitting the Cheddar-Parsley Butter. 

Confit Mushroom Pilaf

4 cups of cremini mushrooms (cleaned, quartered)
8 cloves peeled garlic
1 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1/2  cup olive oil
Reserved cauliflower (that was cut away from the steaks)
1 small white onion (finely diced)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients on a large, parchment-lined baking tray. (The mushrooms should have enough room to move around.) Cover with parchment and then with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool at room temperature. Strain and discard garlic and herbs; reserve oil and mushrooms.

In the work bowl of your food processor, pulse cauliflower until it's broken down into rice-sized bits. Set aside. 

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of the reserved oil and the onion. Once the onion is translucent, add the cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Fold in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm on the stove until ready to serve.

Herbed Tomatoes

8 Roma tomatoes, stemmed and halved
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Lay out tomatoes seed-side-up and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the skins are lightly blistered. Set aside until ready to assemble the dish. 

Cheddar-Parsley Butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup of finely grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon very finely chopped parsley
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Place the cold butter, cheddar, parsley, salt, and pepper into small bowl and knead it with your fingers until all ingredients are well incorporated. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and lay butter in a line about 4 inches from the bottom and sides. Fold the sides of the parchment over the butter and tightly roll from the bottom creating a cylinder. Refrigerate until firm. Using a hot knife, slice the butter into ¼-inch rounds.

Fried Capers

1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup olive oil

Strain off any liquid from the capers. In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it starts to shimmer. Add the capers and fry for 2 minutes or just until the skin starts to peel. Set aside on a a paper towel until you're ready to use them as a garnish. 


Anonymous said...

The herbs, the oils, the textures, the colors - can't wait to try this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling us about 82 Queen. We ate there tonight and it was one of the best meals we've ever had! Southern cooking, wonderfully done, with a twist.