Monday, March 4, 2013

Harissa Cauliflower Steaks

There is a fantastic crepe stand at the San Diego Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market. They serve everything from sweet to savory crepes and everything in between. Though I am generally a sucker for a sweet crepe filled with strawberries and Nutella (once in a while J), there is something so magical about the savory crepes. The flavor is so unpredictable and pleasantly surprising. It is a combination of citrus and spice but the kind of spice that doesn’t make an appearance until after you have swallowed your mouth-watering bite. What could it be?! You guessed it, a secret ingredient! And in this case, the secret ingredient is harissa!

Harissa is a combination of spices such as serrano peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin and coriander. This hot sauce or spice mix stems from the Middle East but is making its way to Morocco and countries with a strong Arab presence such as France and Germany. Ah ha! This is why the crepe stand uses harissa!

For Christmas this past year my fiancĂ© bought me this incredible box of spices from the Spice Station in Los Angeles. Inside the box was a premixed canister of harissa. Though you can mix all the different spices together to create your own mix, why not let someone else do the work for a change J. I have been trying to figure out what would pair nicely with the flavors of harissa but not overpower it and I came up with cauliflower steaks! I’m sure you’ve seen cauliflower steaks in food magazines or on other food blogs – they seem to be the big thing right now. Essentially you just cut the cauliflower head into thick cross-sections (forget the florets!) so they are beefy and substantial. Let me tell you, it is pretty awesome and will probably leave you cooking cauliflower more often!

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and green stems removed
1 tablespoon of harissa (click here for a harissa paste recipe)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice from one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix the harissa, two tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice. Stir and set aside.

Remove the green stems from the cauliflower and trim the stem, leaving the core intact. Place the cauliflower core side down on a cutting board and cut the cauliflower into ½” slabs. Some florets may break away from the slices – that’s okay you’ll use them too!

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Depending on how large your skillet is, you may need to do this next step in two batches. Carefully add the cauliflower steaks to the skillet and cook until golden brown for approximately two minutes per side.

Using a spatula, remove the cauliflower from the skillet and set on your pre-lined baking sheet or pan. Generously coat the cauliflower steaks with the harissa mixture (saving a little for late) on both sides and transfer to the oven. Roast the cauliflower for approximately 15 minutes, or until tender.

Serve the cauliflower steaks with an additional drizzle of your harissa mixture. Enjoy!


  1. I've got the feeling that I need to make it, soon! :)

  2. You do! Cauliflower has never tasted so good :) Enjoy and let me know what you think!