Grilled Cauliflower with Lemon and Thyme

Cauliflower was introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century and, though rare in French cooking, held an honorable place in gardens because of their beauty delicacy. They were written about by the gardener and scientist Olivier de Serres’ in his 1600 book Théàter de l’agriculture (Theater of Agriculture) and are featured in La Varenne’s 1653 cookbook Le cuisinier francois (The French Cook). Cauliflower’s popularity grew when the its biggest fan, Louis XIV, demanded that it be served on the grand banquet tables of Versailles.

1 large head cauliflower
½ stick butter, diced
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper

Prepare the lemon thyme sauce. Combine the butter, shallots, olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest in medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the butter melts and the sauce is well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove leaves and trim stem of cauliflower, leaving the core intact. Place cauliflower, core side down, on a work surface. Starting at the middle of the cauliflower, slice from top to bottom into four ½-inch “steaks”, reserving any florets that break loose.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Brush the cauliflower steaks on both sides with the lemon thyme sauce and season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer the vegetables to a platter, heat any remaining sauce and drizzle it over the cauliflower. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.

Serves 4

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