It was a pinch myself moment. Yesterday I taught my first class at Elawa Farm, the beloved and beautifully restored gentleman’s farm and garden in the heart of Lake Forest. Elawa’s mission is to enrich our community as a unique center for hands-on learning, and to inspire an appreciation for gardening, healthy living and historic preservation.
Vegetables took center stage, a fitting tribute to Elawa Farm where I buy many of my ingredients when the garden is not tucked in for our brutal midwest winter. I focused on teaching seasonal dishes of fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients that transition easily from simple meal to entertaining fare.
I had five recipes to teach and two hours on the clock! Everyone was incredibly kind and encouraging. The good news is (a) I can actually talk and cook at the same time, and (b) I now know I should have someone washing dishes for me as I go next time 😳.
One of the class favorites was my Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Caper and Sage Brown Butter Sauce, so I am sharing it here with you. It’s an easy weeknight main, but it plays especially well on a Thanksgiving table with its nutty brown butter, peppery sage, and bright orange notes taking center stage. The vegetarians at your table will rejoice at not having a sides only meal!
Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Caper, Orange and Sage Brown Butter Sauce
serves two as a main course, four as a side
• 1 medium head cauliflower
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 8 large sage leaves, four left whole and four sliced into thin ribbons
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
• 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
• 1 small orange, zested and juiced
• 1 small shallot, minced
• 2 tablespoons capers, drained
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove tough outer leaves from cauliflower head and discard. Trim stem so head sits flat but continues to hold florets together. Set on stem end and slice in half from top to bottom. Cut off outer round edges from top to bottom to create two center cut 1-inch thick cauliflower steaks. The rounded edges will likely fall into loose florets – set these aside for another use. Brush steaks all over with olive oil and season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
- Place butter, one tablespoon olive oil, four whole sage leaves, garlic clove and red chili flakes in a small saucepan over very low heat, gently allowing the butter to melt and infuse with flavor.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower steaks and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Flip, transfer to oven, and roast until stem is tender when pierced with a fork, about 8-12 minutes.
- While steaks are in oven, remove sage leaves and garlic clove from saucepan and turn heat to medium. Cook until butter begins to foam and solids turn golden and fall to bottom of pan. Season with salt and pepper, add shallots and capers, sautéing for a few minutes until capers darken and shallots soften. Stir in orange juice, lemon juice and sage ribbons and cook a minute more. Turn off heat and stir in orange zest and parsley.
- Plate piping hot steaks on plates or a platter and spoon sauce over top.
For a main course, serve with arugula dressed in a simple vinaigrette, and over quinoa, couscous, or creamy cauliflower purée. As a side, perfect with roast chicken or grilled steak.