Cauliflower Heart

with Romesco Sauce and Basil Dressing

Wanting to create restaurant style dishes in the comfort of your home or keen to expand your cooking repertoire? This delicious recipe has been created by our executive chef, Douglas McMaster and is part of our 'Perfection Series', which we hope will inform and inspire you.

Serves 4-6

For the cauliflower heart

3 medium to large cauliflowers

For the basil oil

2 bunches of basil leaves, picked

350ml olive oil

For the romesco sauce

100g roasted red pepper

60g blanched almonds

50g skinned hazelnuts

1 slice stale sourdough bread

1 garlic clove

1 tsp paprika

100ml olive oil

1 tbsp sherry vinegar


For The Cauliflower Heart

  1. Take all the outer leaves off the cauliflower and reserve for another use. Turn the head of the cauliflower upside down and cut through the centre of the root directly down.

  2. Then cut the steak one inch from the centre, parallel with your first cut. This will reveal a beautiful 'tree of life' steak. You will get two big steaks from each cauliflower. Reserve all the cauliflower trimmings for another use.

  3. Bring a suitably sized pan of water to a simmer. Season the water, it should taste slightly salty. To be really precise, the salt should be 5% weight of the water. Poach the steaks until tender. This can be done ahead of time.

For The Basil Oil

  1. Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds and refresh them immediately in ice cold water.

  2. Dry the leaves and blend them with the olive oil, pass through a cloth or coffee filter and keep the oil in the fridge until needed.

For The Romesco Sauce

  1. Spread the almonds, hazelnuts and bread on a baking tray and toast gently in the oven using FanPlus 160°C for 10 minutes, turning them occasionally.

  2. Allow to cool and blend with a food processor to a coarse texture. Check the seasoning, ready for serving.

To Serve

  1. Warm the cauliflower steaks in the steam oven or neatly lay them into a pan with a lid on and a small amount of water, until they are hot.

  2. Place two spoonsfuls of the romesco sauce in the centre of a warm plate and top with the cauliflower heart. Dress with the basil oil.

Cooking Tip

There will be a lot of cauliflower trimmings – these are ideal for a salad, soup or a vegan cauliflower curry.

About the Author

Head chef and owner of SILO in Brighton and CUB in London, Douglas McMaster is passionate about reducing food waste and has developed a specialised approach to food that results in innovative, full of flavour dishes that produce no waste, are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

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