Simplicity.

It’s no secret that I enjoy being in the kitchen.  I’m rarely concerned with how long a meal will take me to prepare or how many ingredients I need to pick up.  In the kitchen, my focus is on the outcome — rarely ever am I put off by the journey.  So much so, in fact, that a couple of minutes into preparing last night’s dinner, I was overwhelmed with disappointment.  Why?  Stellar ingredients.  Fresh.  Healthy.  Simple.  Wait…simple.  Simple.  SIMPLE!  It was the simplicity of this meal that left me strangely despondent.  There was very little prep — very little hands on time.  The result: very little time for me to bond with my ingredients (all five of them).

I know this NOT to be true, but somehow there’s a correlation between ‘simple’ and ‘bland’ in my little brain.  We’ve been eating a nearly plant-based diet for the past month or so (we still eat meat, but our dinners are regularly vegetarian).  My fear with this meal was that its simplicity would render it blah — a vegetable with a vegetable on the side.  BORING.

Well consider my groundless correlation squashed.  This meal was FANTASTIC.  And what might have made it even more fantastic was the fact that it WAS so simple.

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Cauliflower Steaks with Pistachio Gremolata + Roasted Squash

(recipe adapted from acozykitchen.com)

Cauliflower Steaks:
1 head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon (juice of)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Parsley and Pistachio Gremolata:
1 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
handful of toasted pistachios (toast in a small pan, over med-high heat, for 5 minutes — watch carefully!  they’ll burn in an instant!)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 lemon (juice of)
Salt + pepper to taste

Roasted Squash:
1 large butternut squash, peeled, gutted, and chopped into 1″ cubes
Enough olive oil to lightly coat
Salt + pepper to taste

How to do it:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange squash on a large sheet pan and toss it in the oven to give it a head start.  Slice the cauliflower head into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch slices (from crown to stem).  You’ll likely get 3-4 steaks out of these.  I throw the scraps onto the squash pan and roast them, too.

Add chicken broth, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, red pepper, and salt and pepper to a 13 x 10 casserole dish. Gently place cauliflower steaks to the casserole dish and place in the oven.  Roast for 30-35 minutes.

Add all of the gremolata ingredients to a food processor (minus the lemon and salt) and pulse until mixture is coarse (you can also finely chop all ingredients if you’re without a food processor).  Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the cauliflower from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. The cauliflower will be fragile so be gentle when handling. Transfer the cauliflower steaks to a bed of paper towels to and dry.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil (next time, I’ll use a nug of coconut oil to “fry” these babies in) to the hot pan and gently add the steaks, searing them for 1-2 minutes on each side and until golden brown. Drain the steaks on a bed of clean paper towels. Serve immediately with a dollop of gremolata on each, squash on the side (your squash should bake for about an hour at 350 — turn it up if you’re in a hurry).

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