Posted by: conradvisionquest | January 19, 2010

Recipe: Pan Seared Cauliflower and Creamy Tomato Sauce

The internet is an amazing thing.  We can share our lives through blogs.  We can track down people from our past (whether they like it or not!)We can communicate with people from all over the world. We can find the answer to almost any question.  But my most favorite thing involves none of these.  It involves FOOD.

Being a recovering meat eater, I’m discovering it’s difficult to find savory, hearty, flavorful vegetarian recipes that will satisfy my insatiable appetite! That’s where the internet comes in.  But it’s still looking for a needle in a haystack.  That’s why I was SO excited to find, cook, and LOOOVE this simple veggie recipe.  It is not only delicious, but gorgeous, too.

You can find the original recipe here, including amazing preparation photos and pics of the finished dish.  It comes from the wonderful blog, Straight From the Farm.  Jennie also has a TON of other recipes on the blog, most of them vegetable based! YAY! I will also be trying her Eggplant “Meatballs” recipe and will blog about it with a full review.

I slightly tweaked this recipe to suit my tastes and situation.  Let’s get cookin’! (wow, that was cheesy! sorry)

Ingredients:
(* indicates vegan options)

1 large head of organic cauliflower
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. butter
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
2-3 T. tomato paste
1/4 cup organic vegetable broth
4 fresh medium tomatoes, diced
3 T. goat cheese (* substitute some vegan cream cheese and/or sour cream)
3 T. organic half and half (*or use soy creamer)
1/2 t. dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (*use vegan parmesan)

Scrub the cauliflower.  Use a large sharp knife to cut the cauliflower into slices about a half inch thick.  If big pieces of the core/stem come with a slice, you can remove it, being careful to keep the slice intact.

Heat a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large heavy skillet until the butter is melted.  I used an iron skillet, you may have to raise the heat if you use something else.  Lay one layer of cauliflower slices and sprig of rosemary in the hot skillet and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes or until edges start to brown.  Carefully flip pieces over with a spatula, shaking the skillet gently once they are all turned over to redistribute the oil and butter.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until second side is also golden and the pieces are tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Repeat this process, adding an additional tablespoon of oil and of butter to the hot skillet before each new batch of cauliflower.  I also removed the rosemary and started with fresh for each batch.  Otherwise it was starting to burn.  I kept the finished cauliflower in a metal casserole dish in the microwave so it would stay warm until ready to serve.

I started the sauce first, so it could simmer while I seared the cauliflower.  To make the sauce, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and a sprig of rosemary.  Stir until fragrant and garlic is turning golden.  This doesn’t take long, so be careful not to scorch the garlic! Add the tomato paste and vegetable broth and stir briskly to incorporate.  Add the diced tomatoes and allow mixture to simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add the goat cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and mixed into the sauce.   Stir in the cream and oregano.  Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.  I kept the sauce on very low heat while I finished the cauliflower.

To serve, plate up the cauliflower and top with the warm sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  We had this cauliflower dish by itself with a big green salad, but it would be great over hot pasta.   The original recipe says it serves four, but at our house it made three servings.  We like to eat.

Don’t think that because this post is lengthy that this recipe is complicated.  It’s sooo simple and I can’t say enough how yummy this was!  This is going to be one of my new go-to veggie recipes.  Even the man said it was his favorite so far, as I have been trying oodles of new vegetarian recipes.

Got a favorite hearty vegetarian recipe? I’m all ears…

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