Earlier this summer, I wrote a post recapping a cooking class that featured a take on Cauliflower Napoleon, an entree served at The Ravens’ Restaurant. That version utilized cauliflower steaks with polenta, eggplant, butternut squash, zucchini, cashew cream, and a jalapeno-kale sauce. Yesterday I assisted Chef Sadhana with a different cooking class, and we took a totally different route on the Napoleon. But it was, of course, still delicious. I thought I’d give a recap of yesterday’s class to showcase just how versatile this dish can be! Here’s the link to the original post if you’d like to compare: https://www.stanfordinn.com/recap-cooking-class/
For yesterday’s class, we started out by making shiitake bacon. It is so. freaking. good. You simply thinly slice shiitake caps, toss with coconut oil and some smoked paprika, and there you have it. Delish!
We then cut beets, sweet potatoes, and yellow onion into 1 inch chunks to start roasting, since those would take the longest out of everything we were working on. Pro tip: if your beets aren’t coming out of the oven all sweet and wonderful, you might not be cooking them at a high enough temperature! To roast, your oven needs to be set somewhere from 400 to 425 degrees, and be sure to add some salt and olive oil to the beets. The salt helps to release water and bring more flavor. You can also tent your pan with foil to speed up the process.
Beets and sweet potatoes–two of my favorites! I recently discovered golden beets, which I would highly recommend you try if you haven’t. As for sweet potatoes, I especially love them roasted and drizzled (or, let’s be honest, doused) in peanut butter. Sooooo good. Don’t knock it til you try it!
Anyways, back to the class. We also chopped some yukon gold potatoes for another roasting pan, and in a third pan put chopped up carrots, celery, and some rosemary. All of these veggies were being roasted to use as layers on the Cauliflower Napoleons.
While we had been working on all of the veggies, Sadhana also had some broccoli florets in the steamer that were just about done, ready to be made into a broccoli spread! While the spread wasn’t intended for the Cauliflower Napoleons, I actually layered some of it into mine and it turned out great! Just another example of how creative you can really get with this basic dish.
Broccoli florets, soaked cashews, olive oil, salt, and enough water to get everything moving went into the food processor, et voila! Broccoli dip/spread/deliciousness.
Next up came the base for our main dish, our cauliflower steaks! Pretty simple, just seasoned with some salt and white pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Fun fact courtesy of Clay, a gardener here and Sadhana’s husband: when the cauliflower florets are arranged further away from one another in the head, which is visible when you cut a cross section, it means there wasn’t as good pollination on that cauliflower. Cool!
Last but not least, we threw together a quick cashew cream to finish out our dish. Soaked cashews, water (enough to just cover the cashews), nutritional yeast, chickpea miso, fresh lemon juice, ume plum vinegar, and salt. Simple, unbelievably creamy, and flavorful. The nutritional yeast lended cheesiness and a subtle nutty quality, and the lemon and ume plum vinegar added flavor and acidity. Just throw the ingredients in a vitamix and blend for a minute or so! Cashew cream can be used on pretty much anything, and it’s so delicious I would most definitely eat it straight with a spoon. But, if you’re a bit more civilized, you can use it as a dipping sauce for crudites, drizzled on roasted veggies, as a sandwich spread, and to thicken up polenta, quinoa, or another grain. The possibilities are endless!
Sadhana grabbed some fresh arugula and other greens, added salt and squeezed on lemon juice, and we were ready to plate!
My method: first arugula, then cauliflower steak, then cashew cream, then roasted veggies, then more cashew cream and broccoli spread, and finally a very generous serving of shiitake bacon. Very, very generous. That stuff is addicting! Crunchy, salty, and smoky.
The incredible part of making Cauliflower Napoleons is how easy it is to mix up the dish, and how different the flavor turns out each time. I think I’ve had about 4 or 5 different variations now, each wonderful but so unique. Due to the large number of different elements and the high degree of freedom in choosing those elements, the flavor of the dish is always deliciously complex. Your taste buds will not be bored.
I would strongly encourage anyone to try this at home. It’s easy, and, most importantly, you can unleash your creative side.
This article was written by monica