Cauliflower and I have not always been friends. There was a time when I dreaded having to eat it and could barely choke it down. That all changed a few summers ago when we started grilling cauliflower and discovered that it can be sweet and tender with a smoky undertone lent by the grill. Grilling made all the difference, especially when we topped it with a caper and lemon sauce that added a nice piquancy. Then, at an Indian restaurant in London this summer, I had the best cauliflower I’d ever tasted. Although it wasn’t grilled, the sweet and spicy flavors of Indian cuisine were perfect for a vegetable that can sometimes be a bit bland. Upon returning home, I immediately bought several Indian spice blends to try at home and my favorite so far has been Vindaloo. According to some sources, Vindaloo in it’s present form is actually not a traditional Indian flavoring combination, but actually evolved from combining the flavors of curry with popular English seasonings, such as mustard and ginger. Whatever the origin, I have loved the Vindaloo seasoning in everything I’ve tried it in, especially when sprinkled over cauliflower steaks before grilling. It’s fairly easy to make a Vindaloo seasoning at home, but I bought mine already mixed at my favorite spice shop. Either way, I guarantee this recipe will make a cauliflower lover out of anyone, even the most ardent vegetable avoider.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Vindaloo spice mix
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Naan or rice for serving
- Preheat a grill with a medium flame. Cut off the stem end of the cauliflower so that the head sits flats on the cutting board, but leave enough stem remaining that it still holds the florets together. Slice off both sides of the cauliflower head and reserve the florets that come off. Slice the rest of the head of cauliflower into 2-inch thick slices reserving any florets that are loose.
- Lay the cauliflower steaks out on a sheet pan or large cutting board, along with any of the florets that are large enough to not fall through the grates on your grill.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. In a second small bowl, stir together the Vindaloo spice mix and salt. Brush the cauliflower pieces with half of the olive oil mixture and sprinkle half of the spice mix evenly over the pieces. Place the cauliflower pieces, oiled side down, on the preheated grill. Brush the top of the pieces with the remaining oil and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture.
- Close the lid of the grill and cook cauliflower just until it starts to become tender and is charred. Flip over cauliflower pieces with tongs, cover grill and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes or until the second side is charred and cauliflower is tender throughout with poked with a fork. Remove to a serving platter and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately with Naan bread or basmati rice.