I promise this dish is far less complicated to prepare than it appears. I can also guarantee that it's as delicious as it is artistically appealing. Essentially it is one head of cauliflower that is evenly split in thirds and prepared three different ways: pureed, raw and roasted. It makes an excellent vegan appetizer, entree or side dish. I chose purple cauliflower (that can regularly be found at Whole Foods) for a more colorful and dramatic effect in presentation. Experimenting with different colors and plating techniques is encouraged!
serving size: 2-4
prep time: 45 mins
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 half shallot (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (I used 1 sprig rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme, 4 sage leaves)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegan butter (regular butter or olive oil can be substituted)
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon chopped pecans (or nut/seed of choice)
First, set oven to 400 F degrees. Trim leaves off bottom of cauliflower, leaving the full head in tact. After washing and drying cauliflower, finely cut 1/3 of the head into 1/4 inch slices (approximately 4-5 profile cuts). Set the raw cauliflower slices in a bowl to the side. Remove all the florets from the other 2/3 of the cauliflower head. Dress the florets in 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, top with the cauliflower florets and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the dressing for the raw cauliflower salad. In a blender place 1/4 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, herbs, shallot, salt and pepper to taste in a blender on high speed. Drizzle the dressing on the raw cauliflower slices and set aside. After 15 minutes of roasting the cauliflower, take them out of the oven and split the florets in 2 parts. One half goes back in the over to roast for 15 more minutes. Put the other half of the florets (including garlic!) in a blender or food processor with 2 tablespoons of vegan butter (which should melt immediately). Blend on high until the consistency is even, similar to mashed potatoes. A few drops of water may need to be added.
After remaining cauliflower has finished roasting, remove from oven and allow to cool. Chop parsley and toss with roasted cauliflower. To plate the dish, layer the base with cauliflower puree, top with the slices of raw cauliflower dressed in herb vinaigrette, and top with roasted cauliflower. Chop pecans and lightly dust around the outside of the plate.