Weirwood tree cauliflower steaks

By Camille Moore
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As the place for spiritual contemplation often visited by Bran Stark, there can be no doubt that the mystical Weirwood Tree plays a significant role in Game of Thrones, and I’m thinking there’s more to come in that regard... This dish is essential to any finale viewing party feast, and the best part is that it’s beyond simple, coming together in less than 30 minutes. I also love it because it uses the entire head of cauliflower – rather than just the pretty florets. The key to the recreating the appearance of the fire-red leaves is using red spices: paprika, sumac, and red pepper flakes. If you have a crème brulée torch handy, use that to lightly char around the facial cut-outs that you create in the tree “trunks” – it creates a cool effect, but not the end of the world if omitted. While the recipe calls for one head of cauliflower, which will yield two to three steaks, you may just as easily double or triple the quantity depending on the size of the crowd you’re feeding. Make it fun and feast-like in the way you serve this by arranging the Weirwood trees on a platter atop some purée in the centre of a table, and provide a steak knife for guests to cut into them and help themselves – of course, after they’ve taken their photos for Instagram! Because if we don’t post, did the party even happen? Lol…

YIELDS
2
 TO
3 STEAKS, PLUS PURÉE

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cauliflower purée:

  • Cauliflower trimmings (from cutting the steaks)
  • 1 bunch green onion, white parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly pressed
  • 1/4 cup chicken/vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Add a few inches of water to a pot fitted with a steamer basket and bring to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl combine the paprika, sumac, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  3. To prepare cauliflower, trim away and discard any green leaves from the head. Then, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the cauliflower into one centimeter slices – the parts attached to the stem will remain intact to create the shape of a tree, while the rest will fall away into florets and trimmings that we’ll use later. Depending on the size of your head of cauliflower you’ll end up with two to three steaks. Using a paring knife, cut two eyes, a nose and a mouth in whichever facial expression you choose, into the trunks of your Weirwood Trees.
  4. Place steaks onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with the olive oil. Season with salt on that one side and bake for 15 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. You want the steaks to remain as white as possible, and tender-crisp in texture. Once baked, use the crème bruée/kitchen torch to lightly char just around the facial features of your trees to create definition. Sprinkle the red spice mixture generously over the branches of your trees to create the appearance of red leaves. 
  5. While the cauliflower steaks bake, place the trimmings, green onions and garlic into the now boiling steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about ten minutes until all are soft. Transfer all three ingredients to a blender, plus the chicken stock and butter, and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
  6. To plate and serve, spoon mounds of cauliflower puree onto a platter and use the back of a spoon to spread into wide circles just a bit larger than your cauliflower steaks. Place steaks on top of the puree and serve immediately. 

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