If you’re tired of the same old cauliflower recipes and want to try something new, look no further than cauliflower mushroom “steaks.” This innovative cooking method involves flattening chunks of cauliflower mushroom between two heavy pans, resulting in perfectly cooked, attractively flattened pieces. Not only is this technique quick and easy, but it also yields incredible results, making it our newfound favorite way to enjoy cauliflower mushrooms.
A Cauliflower Mushroom Foraging Adventure
Living in the Southeast US, we are fortunate to have an abundance of cauliflower mushrooms available for foraging from late summer through early fall. On a recent outing, my partner, whom I affectionately call The Tyrant, came across a large cauliflower mushroom. To my surprise, she recommended leaving it behind, citing the laborious process of cleaning cauliflower mushrooms and her personal preference for other mushroom varieties.
However, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a recipe that would change her mind. It just so happened that earlier that day, I stumbled upon a post on our Instagram account about making maitake mushroom “steaks” by flattening them between two pans. Inspired by this technique, I resolved to develop a fast and easy recipe that would make The Tyrant fall in love with cauliflower mushrooms.
Cleaning Cauliflower Mushrooms
Cleaning wild-foraged cauliflower mushrooms can be a bit of an adventure. These large coral-like mushrooms often harbor various critters, including millipedes and gastropods. To prepare them for the “steak” treatment, follow these steps:
- Use a sharp knife to remove any dirt-covered areas around the mushroom’s base. Ideally, do this immediately after harvesting to prevent further soiling during transport.
- Divide the cauliflower mushroom into smaller sections that will become your “steaks.” Rinse each section under a faucet or with a kitchen sprayer to remove debris and critters. Don’t be surprised if you discover millipedes hiding in the mushroom’s chambers.
Making Cauliflower Mushroom Steaks
Before delving into the step-by-step instructions, let’s understand the goal of this recipe. The aim is to compress larger pieces of cauliflower mushroom into evenly cooked, flattened strips while simultaneously removing excess water. The end result won’t resemble a thick cut of steak; rather, it will be a thin, incredibly flavorful strip of cauliflower mushroom. To enhance the taste, garnish with fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fresh thyme, a sprinkle of salt, and a splash of lemon juice.
Step 1: Find the Ideal Cookware
To begin, you’ll need two heavy skillets that fit snugly into each other. If you have antique cast iron cookware like us, this should be an easy task. However, if you don’t have a matching pair, a single pan will suffice. Simply flatten the mushrooms with a metal spatula, applying additional pressure using a bowl or another heavy object.
Step 2: Heat the Pan and Add Butter
Heat your pan over medium heat and add a generous amount of unsalted butter to coat the bottom. If you only have salted butter, you can omit adding extra salt at the end. Alternatively, you can use extra virgin olive oil, as claims about its smoke point are not scientifically supported. Extra virgin olive oil retains its stability even at high temperatures.
Step 3: Cook and Crush the Mushrooms
Once the butter has melted, add a round of cauliflower mushroom pieces to the pan and immediately press down with your second skillet. At first, you can use your hands to apply pressure, but be prepared to use oven mitts as the pan heats up. As the water inside the mushrooms encounters the hot oil, you’ll hear a sizzling sound. Keep pressing down as the water evaporates and the mushroom’s cell walls soften.
After approximately 4-5 minutes, flip the mushroom pieces and repeat the process until both sides are lightly browned. Be careful not to scorch or overcook the cauliflower mushrooms, as this can result in a burnt and unpleasant taste. If you’re not serving them right away, keep them warm in the oven, as this dish is best enjoyed warm.
Step 4: Plate, Dress, and Serve
Finishing off your cauliflower mushroom steaks is a straightforward process:
- Sprinkle on some salt, unless you used salted butter.
- Generously grate some quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese using a microplane grater.
- Add a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves from your garden.
- Finish with a spritz of lemon juice.
Enjoy your cauliflower mushroom “steaks” as a flavorful appetizer or a delightful side dish.
Did The Tyrant appreciate this innovative cauliflower mushroom recipe? Absolutely! She now allows me to harvest more cauliflower mushrooms, even if our fridge is already well-stocked. With this fast and tasty cooking method, we hope you too will discover a newfound love for cauliflower mushrooms.
Recipe: Cauliflower Mushroom Steaks
For more enticing recipes and culinary inspirations, head to Ekilove.
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