Cauliflower is an environmental hero in my eyes. It grows in the harshest British climates sturdy and strong, is so affordable - and when you eat the leaves, even more so. This dish demonstrates my environmental philosophy of “Root to Fruit Eating”: eating for pleasure, eating whole foods from the whole farm, eating the best food we can, indulging in seasonal foods that are tasty, nutritious and inherently restorative for ourselves and the planet.
This dish makes a great vegetarian centrepiece. Cauliflower leaves are quite delicious and roast incredibly well alongside the cauliflower steaks. The hazelnut sauce is as moorish as it sounds working well alongside the toasty, sweet flavours of the roasted cauliflower.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
To roast the cauliflower: first pull off the larger leaves from the cauliflower, cut them in half – through the middle of the stem – and place into a medium sized roasting tin. Cut the cauliflower into 3cm thick slices or steaks from top to bottom and add to the tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes until the cauliflower chars slightly and softens inside.
To make the hazelnut sauce: Place 50g of the soaked hazelnuts in a high powered blender with the garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Soak the bread in 120ml of water for a few seconds or until soft, add both the water and the bread to the blender. Blend to a very smooth paste for several minutes.
Serve the slices of roast cauliflower and crispy leaves drizzled with the hazelnut sauce, the remaining hazelnuts, crushed and sprinkled over the top and torn mint leaves.