Cauliflower Cheese Steaks with Rocket and Hazelnut Picada
The rocket I used in the picada was at the robust, big leafed stage, strong in flavour, I just trimmed off some of the lower thick leafless stem. Trimmings from the parsley stems can be frozen for stock. Last year’s garlic can be a little brusque, pungent and bitter, whipping out the green sprout inside will not help that much, it is not at its best used raw, if you make this late in February by the time the young new season garlic (aillets) have arrived, one small bulb, peeled and crushed with a little salt will not need any cooking. I always use M Berenguel’s tome, from Amelie Les Bains’ Thursday market, lighter in taste in February but still has some lush richness and melts like a good gruyere.
This recipe produces lots of picada if any left it will keep several days and is lovely sprinkled over roast carrots, as part of a filling for a cheese sandwich, folded into hot pasta for a quick supper dish, stirred into the Carrot, Squash and Celery Soup even folded into piping hot crushed potatoes.
This dish warms up a winter’s day and almost qualifies as Fast Food.
2 medium Cauliflowers (choufleur)
30g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
150g Tome, grated
1 slice Sourdough (around 60g)
20 Hazelnuts, shelled
20 Almonds, shelled
3 cloves Last year’s garlic, finely sliced
60g Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil (needs more)
40g Parsley, include some stem
Picada: Fry the slice of bread in about 40g of the oil until golden brown and crispy, remove from pan and add the remaining oil, about 50g water and the garlic, let the garlic cook until soft and the water has evaporated and the oil begins to sizzle, don’t colour the garlic. As soon as ready tip into a processor bowl. Return the pan to the heat and add the nuts and toast them shaking the pan occasionally until they start to colour and spit, turn off heat and immediately tip the nuts out of the hot pan remove any loose skin and then tip in with the garlic. When the bread is cool enough to handle, break it up and add to the nuts and garlic, blitz to break up and blend together with nuts (traditionally this bit should really be done in a pestle and mortar, pounding until the two ingredients become one). Add the rocket, parsley and a generous sprinkling of salt blitz until everything is very well mixed and texture of coarse sand.
Preheat Oven: 225-250C
Blanch the cauliflowers for a couple minutes in a cm of water, drain thoroughly. Carefully slice into steaks, make the first cut (and the last) at an angle in towards the stem, this way the florets will stay attached, then cut the remaining cauliflower about 2cm thick. Lay on a baking tray and drizzle and massage generously with extra virgin olive oil, followed by a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Bake until golden brown and soft through. Turn the oven off, sprinkle the cheese followed by some of the picada over the ‘steaks’ and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Serve with the remaining picada on the side.