The days and weeks at home have lost their definition. Cooking helps to de-blur the days, adding variety, and recently that’s involved a lot of barbecued veg. These cauliflower steaks are a favourite: brushed with honey and smoked paprika, then charred and topped with a shock of punchy green chimichurri, South America’s answer to salsa verde. There has also been barbecued salad: the grill lends smokiness to spring veg (which are usually treated more delicately), while the yoghurt ranch dressing, which I’ve been putting on everything, brings it all together. What day is it again?
Smoky honeyed cauliflower steaks with chimichurri (pictured above)
Prep 20 min
Cook 10 min
2 large cauliflowers
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp jalapeno brine
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
A couple of sprigs of thyme or oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped
For the sauce
1 shallot, finely chopped
6 slices of pickled jalapeño, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or sugar
2 tsp salt
A bunch of coriander, finely chopped
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
A couple of sprigs of thyme or oregano
100ml extra virgin olive oil
This recipe will leave you with a bit of leftover raw cauliflower that you can roast for another meal. The chimichurri recipe also makes a little more then you will need – it lasts well in the fridge and makes almost anything better, from toasted sandwiches to salad dressings, so I think you will be OK with the extra.
Sit the cauliflowers upright on your chopping board and cut two thick slices out of the centre of each cauliflower. You want the four slices to be held together by the core at the base. Each slice should be about 3-4cm thick. Save any leftover florets for roasting or making cauliflower mash. Mix your marinade ingredients together and brush on to the steaks. Leave to sit while you preheat your barbecue or griddle pan.
For the chimichurri, put the shallot, jalapeno, garlic, vinegar, honey or sugar, and one teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, then stir in the chopped coriander, parsley, and oregano, then use a fork to stir in oil.
Once the barbecue or griddle pan is nice and hot, cook the cauliflower steaks for about four to five minutes on each side until soft and nicely charred, brushing with any leftover marinade as you turn.
While they are still warm, toss in half the chimichurri and serve with the rest for spooning over.
Charred spring salad with herby ranch dressing
Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
400g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
A bunch of spring onions, trimmed, larger ones halved lengthways
400g asparagus, tough ends cut away
2 little gem lettuces, washed and quartered lengthways
Extra virgin olive oil
For the dressing
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp plain yoghurt or unsweetened vegan yoghurt
1 unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp runny honey or maple syrup
2 handfuls soft herbs (I used dill, mint and chives), finely chopped
I have suggested my favourite spring vegetables (and what I could easily get my hands on), but use any other spring veg you can barbecue – green peppers, broad beans in their pods (you can eat the whole pod once grilled) or green beans. Use what you have and what you love.
Parboil the potatoes in salted water until just cooked. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan until it is very hot. Get all your veg ready on a tray to take to the barbecue or griddle.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking the oil, yoghurt, lemon juice (keep the squeezed out halves) and honey, then stir in the chopped herbs.
Now, griddle your veg, starting with the potatoes and the reserved squeezed lemon halves, then the spring onions, radishes, asparagus and finally the lettuce, keeping any warm (on a cool side on the barbecue, or in a low oven if you are using a griddle).
Once the lot is cooked, squeeze the barbecued lemon halves over, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then pour over half of the dressing. Serve warm with any extra dressing to spoon over.