Cauliflower steak with Black Bomber cheddar, bacon and pickled walnuts

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The classic flavours of cauliflower cheese are ramped up to eleven in this beautiful dish from George Farrugia. Thick cauliflower steaks are served with an intense caramelised onion and pickled walnut purée, crispy bacon lardons and a mustardy cheddar sauce.

George uses an espuma gun to aerate the cheese sauce into a foam in this dish, but you can easily serve the sauce as is if you don't have one to hand. Simply omit the bacon to make this dish vegetarian.

First published in 2020





Pickled walnut purée

Cheese sauce

To serve


  • Blender
  • Squeezy bottle
  • Espuma gun


Begin by making the purée. Caramelise the smoked bacon in a small saucepan until crisp, then strain off a little of the rendered fat. Add the UHT cream, bring to a simmer, then set aside to infuse
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil and the butter in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the onions, season well, then stir to ensure everything is coated in fat. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes until the onions have completely collapsed and most of the water has evaporated
Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the onions and cook until everything is golden. Drain off most of the fat, deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry vinegar, then add the pickled walnut and bacon-infused cream. Mix well, blitz until smooth, then taste for seasoning and set aside to reheat later
For the cheese sauce, make a bechamel – melt the butter in a saucepan and, once foaming, whisk in the flour and cook out for a few more minutes. Season with the salt and pepper, then gradually whisk in the whole milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and thicken the sauce slightly, then add the grated cheddar and whisk until melted
Add the mustards and crème fraiche, then whisk or blitz with a stick blender until completely smooth (you may need a little extra milk if it feels too thick). Taste for seasoning, then pass through a fine sieve. At this point, you can either keep things simple by serving this as a sauce, or if you have one, place the sauce into an espuma gun and charge with 2 gas canisters. Either way, keep the sauce warm until ready to serve
Cut the cauliflower into 4 large steaks – around 2 inches thick – and season well. Steam the cauliflower steaks either in a vacuum bag or large steamer until tender (around 20 minutes). Once tender, fry the steaks in the olive oil on both sides until golden brown
When ready to serve, fry the bacon lardons or pancetta until crispy, then keep warm. Gently reheat the purée and cheese sauce if needed, and fry the black mustard seeds in the vegetable oil until they pop and lightly season
To serve, place a cauliflower steak on each plate. Pipe dots of the purée around it, along with the cheese sauce (or foam, if using an espuma gun). Garnish with the black mustard seeds, mustard cress, fried bacon and diced pickled walnut, then sprinkle with espelette pepper

After swapping a law degree for a career in the kitchen, George Farrugia's flavour-driven, classically rooted cooking has made him one of the UK's rising culinary stars.

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