This dish came into my life while I was eating in Chicago at the The Purple Pig almost a year ago to the day. I have always loved cauliflower and usually order it anytime I see it on a menu. If you have spent anytime checking out the blog then you know I love to cook with it and eat it as well. It is well documented that you can use cauliflower in a million different ways. It can be used as rice, pizza crust, a veggie steak, buffalo wings, mash potatoes, purees, and the list goes on and on. As I was saying, I had this dish while I was in Chicago. If you want to hear the story and relive that moment with me then click here. Do you see what I am talking about?
The premise for this dish is really simple. Take thin cut florets carmelized and nutty, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, parsley, cornichons, and lemon juice. Now put these together in a way where the flavors sing and are perfectly balanced. There was only one thing to do, which was make the dish. The nice thing is you can find all of these ingredients at your local market or grocery store. As usual, you can customize it any way that suits the needs of your family. Of course as I write this I have discovered that I have broken one of my own rules, which is that I cannot get one ingredient locally. Most of you are aware that I live in a smaller town so finding certain ingredients can be tough. For me, in this case, cornichons aren’t available at any local store nearby. That means that I either have to drive an hour to find it or I can order it online. Realistically this isn’t a big deal, but for purposes of recipe testing it sucks! So, I am going to give you the run down for the recipe and I will come back to it when I have the last ingredient and I can test it more.
Charred Cauliflower Planks with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Parsley
***Note: This dish is from The Purple Pig in Chicago, IL. This recipe was created Jimmy Bannos Sr. and Jimmy Bannos Jr. who are owners/executive chefs of The Purple Pig. This is my version of their dish and is not intented to claim ownership or inception of the original dish.
1 medium head of cauliflower, sliced into planks about 1/8′ inch thick
2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley for garnish
3 cornichons sliced into rounds
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoon of olive oil
To a large heavy bottomed skillet add olive oil over medium high heat.When pan is hot, lay planks of cauliflower down. Season with salt and pepper. When planks have begun to brown and carmelize, flip over and repeat process. Make sure to season both sides. You may need to flip a few times to achieve the desired color. The cauliflower should be cooked through and al dente. If you use a fork the fork should pierce the cauliflower but have a little resistance. You don’t want to the planks to be too soft since it is an important textural component.
Meanwhile, toast your favorite breadcrumbs until you have achieved your desired level of doneness. If desired, use gluten free breadcrumbs as a substitute. For my purposes, this was tested with gluten free breadcrumbs.
Remove planks, slice into bite sized pieces and place in dish. Add lemon juice, cornichons, and combine. Top with bread crumbs and garnish with parsley. Dish can be served warm or at room temperature. This makes a great appetizer or can be used a side dish as well.
Pretty simple, right? Absolutely agree! The key to this dish is the balance for textures and flavors to really make it shine. Because this dish has only a couple of ingredients, it can be tricky to manage. Make sure to be patient with yourself. In fact, I tested this recipe three times before I was too full on cauliflower to continue. Plus, my palate had a taken a little beating drinking the amazing little dressing that formed at the bottom with the lemon juice, parsley, and little bits of breadcrumb.
It became clear that although it tasted good and I was happy with the outcome that the dish lacked something. Cornichons. The vinegar, the burst of spice, and a little more texture were needed. I am excited to test this when I have my hands on all the ingredients.
As usual, let me know what you think of this recipe! Email me, leave a comment, send me a message on Instagram, and share your thoughts!
Special thanks to The Purple Pig and Executive Chef, Jimmy Bannos Jr.!!