Tap into the flexitarian movement with this harissa-spiced cauliflower steak, a tasty alternative to the classic meatier dish. Picture: Supplied

Harissa spiced cauliflower steaks
Serves 2

Ingredients

Cauliflower steaks & cauliflower mash:

1 1/2  head of cauliflower (0.7 kg)
3/4 cup + 2 teaspoons water (plus extra, to thin), divided
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon paprika (sweet)
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Warm lemon chickpea salad:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can chickpeas ( 425g), rinsed & strained
1 cup kale, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Tahini, for drizzling

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Set aside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prepare cauliflower by trimming away any green leaves. With the cauliflower sitting on it’s stem, use a knife to slice it in half. Cut one thick slice from either side – so that you have two “steaks”, each about 1 ½” (4 cm) thick. Set cauliflower steaks aside.
  2. Then, gather up all the remaining cauliflower pieces and chop finely (or pulse in a food processor). Heat a large skillet pan, filled with 3/4 cup water, over high heat. Once boiling, add finely chopped cauliflower and cover to steam. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add minced garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until water is evaporated and cauliflower pieces are tender. Transfer to food processor. Add lemon juice, then process until cauliflower starts to break down. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Process until the mixture looks like the consistency of mashed potatoes. If needed, add water in small increments to thin out mixture, to desired consistency.
  3. Re-heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, and once hot, add cauliflower steaks. Let them sear, undisturbed, for 3-3 ½ minutes on each side (cooking for approximately 6-7 minutes total). Remove once they’ve developed a golden crust on either side. While the cauliflower cooking you can assemble the harissa glaze. In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons water, maple syrup, paprika, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Mix well. Once the cauliflower is seared, transfer steaks to lined baking sheet. Brush harissa glaze on both sides, coating all the nooks and crannies. Transfer to oven for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  4. While the cauliflower steaks are in the oven, prepare the warm chickpea salad. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chickpeas and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add kale and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt. Add currants and cook for 1 minute, or until slightly warmed. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Assemble your dish by spreading the cauliflower mash on the bottom of the plate. Add chickpea salad, seared cauliflower steak and drizzle with tahini if desired.

Notes:
-The cauliflower mash can also be made in a blender if you don’t have a food processor. If using a blender, it’s recommended to double the recipe to provide enough volume for the blades to spin effectively. Plan to scrape down the sides of the blender as you go.|
-* An average lemon contains 2 tablespoons of fresh juice, which is what you need for this recipe.
-*There are three main types of paprika sold: sweet, hot, and smoked. Sweet paprika is usually what’s labelled as (regular) “paprika” in the store. Smoked paprika imparts a slight smokiness. This recipe calls for both sweet and smoked paprika.