Here and now

Leah Eskin

Home on the Range

April 7, 2013


Broccoli steak is a slab of broccoli, grilled. If it strikes you as ridiculous to call broccoli steak, consider that you are dining in California.

Bite your tongue.

Remember that here the locavore can lean out the car window and harvest rocket, garlic and squab. Consider that in many a hometown, the early spring locavore dines on snowball and bus fume.

Remember that for Californian and non-Californian alike, it's always here and always now.

Note that your broccoli steak, despite its silly name, is tasty. Consult with the broccoli chef. Learn that the steak's meaty flavors come from layers of culinary cleverness: Smoked onions, melted cheddar, fried sunchokes, pureed cauliflower fluffed into clouds by one of those whipped-cream canisters.

Try to try it yourself. Decide that this recipe is contraindicated in your own kitchen. Here the local chef does not believe in layers. Sauce and puree and cloud and steak and crumble counts as four projects too many.

Switch to the local favorite: cauliflower roasted with garlic. This recipe calls for 10 minutes, five ingredients and three steps: chop, coat and roast . It's tasty, seasonal and good with almost anything. Including actual steak.

Roasted cauliflower

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

2 heads cauliflower
6 cloves garlic, halved
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon wedge

Cut the cauliflowers in half, crown to stem. Cut out the center core. Break (or cut) the crowns into florets. Cut the stems into 2-inch chunks.

Toss cauliflower and garlic with olive oil and salt. Spread out on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.

Slide into a 400-degree oven and roast until beautifully browned, about 25 minutes. Spritz with a little lemon. Devour.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.