Nearly a full meal and absolutely satisfying--a knife-and-fork dish that highlights the vegetables. Maitake mushrooms, aka hen-of-the-woods, have a robust, nutty flavor that particularly complements the dish. If you can't find them, sub in a handful of another favorite mushroom.
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cauliflower heads
2 maitake mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
Additional thyme leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Place a jelly-roll pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (leave pan in oven).
Place 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, oil, and crushed garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) for 1 minute or until butter melts and garlic is fragrant. Cool slightly; discard garlic.
Carefully cut 2 (1-inch-thick) "steaks" vertically from center of each cauliflower head; reserve remaining cauliflower for another use. Carefully trim bottoms of maitakes, keeping the mushroom clumps intact. Carefully cut each maitake in half lengthwise. Brush tops of cauliflower steaks with oil mixture. Carefully place cauliflower steaks, oiled sides down, on preheated pan; brush tops of steaks with oil mixture. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Remove pan from oven; carefully turn cauliflower steaks over. Gently brush remaining oil mixture on both sides of maitake steaks; place on pan with cauliflower, cut sides down. Bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cauliflower is browned and done. Remove from oven; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
While cauliflower bakes, bring milk and 1/2 cup water to a simmer. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and keep warm.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned and very fragrant. Add sliced garlic; cook 45 seconds, stirring frequently. Add wine; increase heat to medium high, and cook 1 minute or until about half of liquid evaporates. Combine broth and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly; stir in capers, juice, thyme, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spoon about 3/4 cup polenta on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 cauliflower steak, 1 maitake steak, and about 2 tablespoons sauce. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
I only made the "steaks," not the mushroom sauce nor the polenta. I found that the cauliflower steaks cooked faster than indicated. I made my own mushroom sauce which I prepared with criminis and it was very tasty. In place of the polenta (I was not interested in an all white-ish/grey meal), I made a edamame and pea puree flavored with some carrot top pesto I already had in the freezer ready to go. The puree was much easier than polenta, it looked nicer and was tasty too! I also added some diced red bell peppers on top for some more color.
This was really good. If you've not tried roasted cauliflower this is worlds away from the raw stuff on salad bars. My husband refused to call them "steaks" ;), but otherwise said they were not bad at all. I used polenta slow-cooked in milk the night before but otherwise followed directions, and served it with limas the first time, green beans the second. For either vegetarian guests or those who don't demand meat at every meal, this would make a tasty and elegant supper.