Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Delicious and Healthy-Cauliflower

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:00 AM
AP: Breaded cauliflower cutlets with marinara sauce
Roasted cauliflower florets.
Roasted cauliflower humus.
Grilled cauliflower steaks with lemon lime feta gremolata.
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Let's say that one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat healthier and lose some weight. Join the crowd, right?

In practice, what we probably mean - among other things - is that we plan to eat more vegetables and less meat. It's a challenge. But if you try this dish - a wonderful vegetarian version of breaded veal (or pork or chicken) cutlets swimming in a marinara sauce - you will see how easy and satisfying it can be to turn a resolution into reality. Breaded cauliflower cutlets with marinara sauce can help you eat healthier and lose some weight.

You start by slicing a whole head of cauliflower into cutlets. The idea is to end up with thick slabs of the vegetable. One easy method for doing this is to cut the head in half down the centre, then turn each half on its cut side and cut the halves into half-inch-thick slabs. There will always be a few loose bits from the ends, but those also can be breaded and cooked as described below.

You'll want to take care with the breading, too. It's a three-step process: dust the steaks lightly with cornstarch, coat them well with an egg mixture, then finish them with a layer of breadcrumbs. This is standard operating procedure among culinary pros. The three layers provide a more substantial crust than any other single coating or combo of coatings.

Now it's time to brown your vegetable cutlets. You could do it in a skillet - just as you would a breaded meat cutlet - but that would require a ton of oil (those breadcrumbs just soak it up). And remember, it's the new year and you're on a new path. So instead we bake them, which requires a lot less oil. The key is to place the cutlets fairly close to the heat source. In my electric oven that's the top of the stove. If they're not properly browned at the end of the prescribed cooking time, just leave them in the oven a little longer.

Then dig in. The biggest flavour is going to come from the marinara sauce. Your brain likely won't care at all whether the cutlet is veal or vegetable. But your body will thank you.

Breaded cauliflower cutlets with marinara

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2tsp minced garlic

1 large head cauliflower

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1tsp kosher salt, divided

1/2 cup cornstarch

13/4 cups panko breadcrumbs

1oz grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups speedy marinara (recipe below) or store-bought marinara, heated

METHOD

1.Heat the oven to 400?F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oil and the garlic. Set aside.

3. Pull off any leaves from the stem end of the cauliflower and trim off just enough of the stem so the cauliflower stands flat on the counter. Slice the cauliflower head in half down the centre top to bottom. One at a time, set each half onto its cut side. Starting from one end of each half, slice crosswise to create half-inch-thick slices. This will yield 3 to 4 cutlets from the centre of each half, with the small ends being chunks. The chunks can be prepared as the cutlets, or reserved for another use.

4. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, 3 tablespoons of water and half teaspoon of the salt.

5. On a sheet of kitchen parchment, combine the cornstarch with the remaining half teaspoon of salt, stirring the mixture with a fork to combine. On a second sheet of parchment, combine the panko with the cheese, stirring with a fork.

6. One at a time, coat the cauliflower cutlets (and trimmings, if using) on both sides with the cornstarch, knocking off the excess. Next, dip each in the egg mixture, coating them on both sides and letting the excess drip off. Finally, coat them with the panko mixture, patting the crumbs on well. Set aside.

7. Strain the garlic oil through a mesh strainer, pressing hard on the garlic to get out all the oil. Discard the garlic (or reserve for another use).

8. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread half of the oil in an even coating. Set the baking sheet on the oven's top shelf and heat for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and quickly arrange the prepared cauliflower on it in a single layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

9. Remove the pan from the oven, drizzle the tops of the cauliflower evenly with the remaining oil, turn them over, then bake for another 15 minutes. Divide the cauliflower among 4 serving plates, then serve topped with marinara.

Speedy Marinara

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 large cloves garlic, smashed

1tbs extra-virgin olive oil

Hefty pinch red pepper flakes

28oz can plum tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), chopped

Kosher salt

METHOD

1. In an unheated medium saucepan, combine the garlic and the oil. Turn the heat to medium and cook, turning over the garlic several times, until it is just golden, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt, then bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook at a brisk simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 21/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Discard the garlic. Season with salt.

Roasted cauliflower Hummus

Cut a medium head of cauliflower into 1- to 2-inch florets. Toss lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper and cumin. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425?F for 25 minutes, or until browned and tender. Transfer to a food processor, along with 3 tablespoons roasted tahini and 2 cloves minced garlic. PurÈe until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper and cumin. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with toasted pita chips or veggie sticks.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon-Lime feta Gremolata

Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

INGREDIENTS

2 small heads cauliflower

1 clove garlic

1 lime

2 lemons

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2tbs crumbled feta cheese

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1tbs olive oil

METHOD

1. Heat the grill to medium-high.

2. Trim off and discard the cauliflower leaves, then flip each head over so that the stem end is facing up. Trim about a quarter inch from each side to flatten, then cut each head in 3 thick slabs. Reserve 1 cup of the side florets you trimmed away.

3. Using a fine wand-style grater, grate the garlic into a medium bowl. Grate in the zest of the lime and 1 lemon, then juice the lime and half of the lemon into the same bowl. Finely chop the cilantro and reserved cauliflower bits and add to the bowl along with the feta. Season with salt and pepper.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and juice from the reserved lemon half. Brush one side of the cauliflower steaks with the lemon oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place them oiled side down on the grill. Cook for 4 minutes, brush the top sides of the steaks with additional lemon oil, flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly charred and tender.

5. Slice the remaining lemon into 6 wedges. Spoon several tablespoons of the gremolata over the steaks and serve with a lemon wedge.