Tender cauliflower wrapped in crispy pastry with a bit of a twist...
It's official - I'm obsessed with cauliflower!! It's such a versatile vegetable that you can't help but love it. I recently stumbled across the phenomenon that is a cauli steak and, having explored all the flavours and methods I could think of for a steak, decided the next natural progression was to wrap it in puff pastry for the ultimate Wellington. I also added a duxelle for extra flavour and interest. This recipe will serve four if you use a large cauliflower, and you'll have trimmings left over to use in another dish.
1 large cauliflower trimmed of leaves
2 sheets Vegan frozen puff pastry
Half quantity of vegan ricotta ricotta.html
Approx 2 cups of grated raw mushrooms (I used Swiss Browns)
Handful of finely crushed walnuts
Half a cup of breadcrumbs
Approx 3 to 5 (depending on size) fresh sage leaves finely chopped
Cup or so of fresh spinach leaves
Milk of choice for brushing the pastry
Once you've made your ricotta, take half and place in a bowl along with the walnuts, sage and breadcrumbs. Gently fry your grated mushrooms in a little Vegan butter until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are quite dry. Allow to cool and then mix in with your ricotta and other ingredients until well combined. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you need to. Allow to chill in the fridge while you deal with the cauliflower.
Take your cauliflower and carefully trim any excess stalk sticking out from the bottom. Don't remove too much as this is essentially the backbone to hold it together. Place your cauli, stalk up, on the board in front of you and, using a sharp knife, place the blade against one side of the stalk and cut down to remove the surplus florets to give you a straight edge to one side. Spin the cauli around and do exactly the same to the opposite side. You'll be left with one huge steak of cauliflower. Carefully slice down the centre of the steak to give you two evenly sized slices. Add a little Vegan butter or olive oil to the pan and fry each steak until slightly tender and coloured. Set aside to cool completely before assembling the Wellingtons. Preheat your oven to 190C.
Once your cauliflower and Duxelle are cool, lay out a sheet of defrosted puff pastry. Spoon half of your Duxelle mix into the centre of the pastry and position one of your cauli steaks on top. Lay a few raw spinach leaves on top of the cauliflower and then gently bring up the corners of the pastry one by one to join in the middle. Use a little splash of milk between each fold to create a seal as you do this. Don't worry too much about how the seal looks as this will be the underside. Gently flip the whole thing over and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repeat with your remaining ingredients and brush the two Wellingtons with milk, before placing in the oven on the middle shelf.
Bake for approx 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crispy and golden brown. Each Wellington serves two people when cut in half (or one if you just can't bear to share!!)
Serve with anything you fancy, but I'd recommend mashed potatoes and cheese sauce. This would also be great as part of a traditional Sunday lunch or a dinner party dish.