I have to admit something right at the starting gate. Cauliflower is my least favourite vegetable. My go-to preparation technique, is just smothering it in cheese to mask it entirely. But recently cauliflower and I have had a reconciliation. And I have to admit that I never really gave this brassica a fair shake. Nutrient and choline aside, with some creative interpretation , cauliflower can actually taste, dare I say, incredible.
This is my effortlessly simple method for a guilt-free vegetable based burger. Served as a traditional burger with lettuce, tomato and my caramelised onions, even the most steadfast carnivore will devour it with enjoyment. And my umami slaw as a side dish, with its secret ingredient of anchovies (or not, if you are a full vegetarian) and cider vinegar , is very je ne sais quoi in its deliciousness.
For the Burger:
1 large head cauliflower
1 cup cashew milk ( or other dairy free milk )
1+ cup raw hazelnuts (or sub other nut, such as cashews) blitzed in a blender to a powder
1 tbsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch or white spelt flour
Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 220C/425`F
Trim the stem and leaves off the cauliflower, being careful not to remove the centre of the stem as it’s what holds the “steaks” together.
Flip the cauliflower stem-side down and visually map out how many “steaks” you hope to get. With a large head of cauliflower, I aim for 3 large 2cm thick “steaks,” and know there’ll be enough remaining pieces to constitute another “steak.” It can be helpful to look at the underside of the cauliflower to see which way the stalks are running to inform which way you’ll slice (cut with the stalks instead of against them). But it’s very common for the end pieces to crumble, so just do your best to get 3 even “steaks” and slice any remaining bits into 2cm thick pieces which we will jigsaw back together as a “ steak “
In a large sauce pan boil cauliflower pieces until tender , about 4-5 minutes. Once slightly softened, remove and set aside on a separate dish.
Put cashew milk into a shallow dish (shallow and wide enough to dip the cauliflower in) and set aside.
Prepare the nut coating by adding nuts and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
Dip the slightly steamed cauliflower in milk, ensuring both sides are adequately coated. Then dredge the cauliflower in the nut mix until thoroughly coated, using a spoon or your hands to add more coating to any bare spots. Then transfer cauliflower “steaks” to your prepared baking sheet. Lastly, drizzle with a little oil to help them crisp up
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower appears golden brown and crispy.
For the Slaw:
1 head of Savoy cabbage
2 egg yolk
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (raw)
1 tbsp sugar (coconut or rapadura )
3 cloves garlic peeled
1 thumb fresh ginger
Pinch cayenne pepper
Finley chop ribbons from the four corners of the cabbage until you begin to reach the core. Discard the cabbage core.
In a food processor or blender, blitz yolk with oil until thickened and pale.
Add remaining ingredients and blend again.
Toss the cabbage in the dressing and set aside. Please note this not only keeps well but tastes better as it ferments. So making a day ahead and refrigerate if possible, or just enjoy the leftovers later in the week.
*VEGAN TIP Do a vegan version with 1/2 cup coconut yogurt instead of the egg yolk and no anchovies
For the bun:
See our Spelt Farmhouse Roll recipe in April
Our historical inspiration:
Probably the number one culinary staple in the Tudor kitchen was verjuice. Typically made from apples, imagine it as the midway crossroads between fresh apple juice and apple vinegar. It was used like we use lemons today. To elevate flavours with an umami quality and add acidic complexity without overwhelming the dish. It was also used as medicine at the time to treat colds which, as it turns out, is now known to be both anti-viral and anti-bacterial.