Tag Archives: Herbs

Heirloom Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie


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Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck, 2013

Southern Living Magazine raised the ante on classic tomato pie with a sour cream crust studded with bacon, layers of colorful tomatoes, and plenty of cheese and herbs to tie it all together. Nobody wants a soggy tomato pie, so for best results, seed the tomatoes and drain the slices before baking.This recipe is a bit time consuming and may take up to three hours to prepare,  but it is sure worth the effort!

June 2013

Serves 6 to 8 

For the Crust:
2 1/4 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour , such as White Lily®
1 cup cold butter, cut up
8 cooked bacon slices, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream

For Filling :
2 3/4 pounds assorted large heirloom tomatoes, divided (*See Cook’s Notes)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal

Prepare Crust: Place flour in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer; cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Chill 10 minutes.

Add bacon to flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Gradually add sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Spoon mixture onto a heavily floured surface; sprinkle lightly with flour, and knead 3 or 4 times, adding more flour as needed. Roll to a 13-inch round. Gently place dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom. Press dough into pan; trim off excess dough along edges. Chill 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Filling: Cut 2 pounds of tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir together Cheddar cheese, next 10 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl until combined.

Pat tomato slices dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of crust. Lightly spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture onto crust; layer with half of tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers, using remaining tomato slices and cheese mixture. Cut remaining 3/4 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and arrange on top of pie.

Bake at 425° for 40 to 45 minutes, shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hours before serving.


*Cook’s Notes:
To learn more about how to seed and drain tomatoes, please see Tori Avey’s tutorial at the following link: How to Seed Tomatoes

And a method is briefly outlined below:

  1. Place your tomato on a cutting board, stem side facing up.
  2. Roll the tomato sideways so the stem faces to the right, and cut the tomato down the center “equator” line into two halves.
  3. Use a small spoon or a quarter spoon melon baller to scoop the tomato seeds and any tough white core out of the four seed cavities. Discard the seeds.

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Olive Oil–Confit Chicken with Cipolline Onions with Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes

chicken onions potatoes

Recipe Adapted from Claire Saffitz
Bon Appetite Magazine
November 2017

What happens when you cook with a lot of oil? Pure Magic, especially for Hanukkah. Why? Because oil conducts heat much more efficiently than air, foods that are confited in it, like these chicken thighs, come out incredibly moist and infused with the oil’s flavor. And the extra bonus, the oil used to cook the chicken can be used for other dishes!


Grilled Red and Green Chicken

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Adapted from
Joshua McFadden
Food & Wine Magazine
June 2017

This clever grilled chicken recipe was adapted from Chef Joshua McFadden of Portland, Oregon and is currently featured in the June 2017 issue of Food & Wine Magazine. This spectacular dish involves making two simple sauces—a spicy red one with ’nduja, a spreadable pork sausage; and a green one packed with fresh herbs and briny capers and anchovies—that are brushed on the chicken and served alongside. Both sauces are incredibly versatile, so keep those leftovers for other dishes yo may have on your menu or you can try the red sauce smeared on a grilled cheese sandwich and the green drizzled over grilled vegetables or mixed with more olive oil and white wine vinegar for an herbaceous vinaigrette for grilled fish.


Serves 4 to 6

For the red sauce:
1/2 cup ’nduja (See Cook’s Notes)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the fresh green herb sauce:
1 cup each lightly packed parsley, mint, cilantro, tarragon and basil leaves
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup drained capers
4 anchovy fillets
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the chicken:
Canola oil, for brushing
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

Make the red sauce In a food processor, pulse the ’nduja with the tomato paste and vinegar until nearly smooth. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Scrape the sauce into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Clean the food processor.

Make the green sauce In the food processor, pulse the herbs, scallions, capers and anchovies until very finely chopped. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Scrape the sauce into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill and oil the grate. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest piece registers 155°F, about 25 minutes. Brush half the chicken with some of the red sauce and half with some of the green sauce and continue to grill, turning and brushing with the sauces, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest piece registers 165°F, 7 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with lemon wedges, passing the remaining sauces at the table.

Cook’s Notes:
The sauces can be refrigerated separately overnight.

‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable pork sausage made out of prosciutto. You can find it at the cheese counter at your local Whole Foods.


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Poulet Basquaise

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Poulet Basquaise (Basque-Style Chicken)

When most people think of the Basque Country, they think of Spain.

Bilbao began the so-called Guggenheim effect. You see, the opening of the GuggenheimGuggenH.jpg Museum in Bilbao in northern Spain in 1997, shows how an imaginatively designed museum commissioned by an energetic mayor can help turn a city around. Visitors’ spending in Bilbao in the first three years after the museum opened raised over ($110m) in taxes for the regional government, enough to recoup the construction costs and leave something over.  In 2012, more than 1m people visited the museum, at least half of them from abroad. This was the third-highest number ever, so the building continues to attract visitors even though the collection on display is modest. Other cities without historic cultural centers now look to Bilbao as a model for what vision and imagination can achieve……hence the “Bilbao Guggenheim Effect”.  In addition, San Sebastián has all those Michelin star restaurants. And Pamplona, notoriously, lets bulls run through its streets once a year.week-pamplona_2611466b.jpg

The Basques are an ancient people who have inhabited this territory for thousands of tt2years.The Basque Country is made up of three distinct  administrative regions (the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France)  and  seven provinces, three of which are in southwestern France.

44MapBasquecolToday, the Spanish part is an autonomous region with a Basque government, while the French part answers to the central government in Paris. The Spanish side has had a strong independence movement, which has lately been eclipsed by Catalonia’s. At the height of its activity in the latter part of the last century, ETA, the Basque separatist group, did most of its fighting on the Spanish side, saving the French side as a hideout…….but I digress. That is another history lesson for another time.

Basque cuisine is influenced by the abundance of produce from the sea on one side and the fertile Ebro valley on the other. The great mountainous nature of the Basque Country has led to a difference between coastal cuisine dominated by fish and seafood, and inland cuisine with fresh and cured meats, many vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod. The French and Spanish influence is strong also, with a noted difference between the cuisine of either side of the modern border; even iconic Basque dishes and products, such as txakoli from the South, or Gâteau Basque (Biskotx) and Jambon de Bayonne from the North, are rarely seen on the other side.

Basques have also been quick to absorb new ingredients and techniques from new settlers and from their own trade and exploration links. Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal created a chocolate and confectionery industry in Bayonne still well-known today, and part of a wider confectionery and pastry tradition across the Basque Country. Basques also embraced the potato and the capsicum, used in hams, sausages and recipes, with pepper festivals around the area, notably Ezpeleta and Puente la Reina. And last but not least, in keeping with the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is more commonly used than butter in Basque cooking.

And with all of that local produce  available to the Basque, it is no wonder that Poulet Basquaise  or Chicken Basquise (or Basque Chicken)  is a local favorite. Chicken Basquaise is a dish that defines the simple elegance of French Basque cooking.

So, I know you are asking, “exactly what is Chicken Basquaise”?  Well, first of all, a basquaise is a type of dish prepared in the style of Basque cuisine that often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers. Chicken Basquaise originated in the town of   Soule . Originally consisting of vegetables and bread, this dish typical consists of  browned chicken pieces, then cooked in a casserole with a Pipérade, which is a mixture of ripe tomatoes , red and green peppers, garlic, onions and Espelette pepper.

And before you start to  cook this dish, you will need to make the Pipérade before you begin.10987_piperade_3000

Pipérade trumpets the versatility of French Basque cuisine.  This simple sauté is enlivened with the local cured pork, Bayonne ham, and a spicy paprika known as piment d’Espelette. In my version of this dish, I added a little of bit of Creole smoked sausage and bacon, for smokiness. Pipérade  is  great over braised chicken and baked fish, but you can also heed Julia Child’s advice and use it to top a plain omelette. Simply divine!

Chicken Basquaise is guaranteed to make your heart sing and your belly cry out for more. This  is a dish where Espelette peppers and chicken go together like the French and kissing,…….. Chicken Basquaise is a dish to smooch over. So make it a date – Chicken  Basquaise is one meal you’ll want to enjoy and get up close and personal with!

Serves 4

6 medium tomatoes
4 chicken quarters, leg and thigh portions, skin on
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares
4 ounces smoked sausage, sliced
4 ounces bacon, diced
4 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, coarsely chopped.
1 medium dried bay leaf
2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette
2/3 to 3/4 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-1/2- or 5-quart casserole or large Dutch oven.

When oil shimmers, add chicken pieces in a single layer (do this in batches, if needed) and let cook until very brown, turn, and repeat until pieces are well-browned all over, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove browned pieces to a plate and set aside. Discard excess oil and wipe out the pot with paper towels.

To the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ham, smoked sausage and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to a plate and set aside.

Return the pan to heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Add the chicken stock. Stir in the diced tomatoes, meat mixture, and piment d’Espelette. Return the chicken to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

To serve, remove the bay leaf  and sprinkle fresh parsley over the chicken. Serve with rice or potatoes, on the side, if desired.

Suggested wine pairing: Domaine Ilarria Irouléguy Rouge, France.

Go all-in on the Basquaise with a not-well-known Basque wine. Made from a blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Irouléguy’s not a delicate wine, but nor is it as big as wines made with these varieties in the New World. Its smoky flavor and dark fruits will merge nicely with the rustic onions, garlic, and red Espelette peppers in the sauce!

Cook’s Notes:
The traditional recipe calls for 2 pounds fresh cubed tomatoes, but one 14-ounce can of whole peeled canned tomatoes can  also be used as a substitute, in this recipe.

It is also a tradition to use a  3- to 3-1/2-pound broiler chicken, cut into 8 pieces, for this dish. You can always  ask your butcher to cut up the chicken for you at your local grocery store.

Bayonne ham is a cured ham product from the French Basque country. If you can’t find it in your local area, you can always use prosciutto or bacon.

Piment d’Espelette is France’s only native pepper, and it is so highly revered that it is protected by AOC status. It has a nice heat and is worth seeking out at a gourmet grocery or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute cayenne pepper or paprika.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Cornish Hens with Grapes in Vermouth



(Poules Cornish aux Raisins au Vermouth)

Traditionally, this classic French dish is made with tender  poussins. Poussin is a butcher’s term for a young chicken, less than 28 days old at slaughter and usually weighing under a pound. In the United States, poussin is an alternative name for a small-sized cross-breed chicken called Rock Cornish game hen, developed in the late 1950s, which is twice as old and twice as large as the typical French  poussin.

The aromatic herbs and the grapes combine to flavor the vermouth, which makes a beautiful sauce that accompanies these tiny birds.

Serves 4 to 6

Four 1-pound oven ready Cornish hens
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for basting
2 small lemons, cut in halves
2 shallots, chopped
2 whole cloves garlic, lightly crushed
4 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 pound seedless sweet white  grapes
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons pine nuts

Preheat the oven at 375°F.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake , stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Wash and dry the hens. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons the softened butter all over the hens. Add the remaining butter to a small bowl and stir in the shallot,garlic, parsley, thyme,tarragon and chives.

Place a quarter of the shallot mixture and 1/2 of one lemon into the cavity of each hen. Using kitchen twine, truss the hens up and place them in a shallow roasting pan. Add about 1/4 cup of water to pan. Roast the hens, basting often with butter , for 45 to 55 minutes , or until the juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced and temperature on instant read thermometer reads 180°F. Transfer to warmed serving platter, cover and keep warm.

Skim off most of the fat from the pan. Add the grapes and vermouth. Place the pan over low heat for a minutes to warm the grapes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the grapes and sprinkle them around the hens. Stir the cornstarch into the cream. Add the pan juices. Cook over gentle heat for a few minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Pour the sauce around the hens. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
This dish serves 4 if the hens are left intact. To serve a party of 6, simply split the hens in half and serve with the sauce and grapes, accordingly

In place of parsley and tarragon, other herbs such as chervil, sage or oregano. For another variation, sliced peaches or apricots, diced zucchini , asparagus or peas.

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All photographs and written content are copyright protected. We ask that you please do not use these photos without prior written permission. In addition, if you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own words and link back to this site, for proper credit. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Duo of Tomato and Corn Gazpacho


It is too darn hot to cook!


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So early this  morning, I went out to my garden, picked the  ripe  tomatoes , fresh corn and assorted  herbs and blended the corn separately from the tomatoes with a little  salt and black  pepper,to taste; poured  each of the vegetable purees into  separate  containers; covered and placed them  in the fridge for over an hour or longer.And there  you have it! GAZPACHO!

And  the best part about this recipe is that you can make this in the morning  before you leave for work, and return home  with  a delicious gazpacho waiting  for dinner!


TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Greek Minty Meatballs

Serves 4

1 pound  ground beef
2 Tablespoons schmaltz (chicken fat)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped mint
2 Tablespoons chopped oregano
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped
Tomato sauce (optional)
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix beef, schmaltz, feta cheese, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon juice, lemon pepper, salt, garlic and peppers together in a large bowl, blending in cheese until no large crumbles remain. Using a 2-ounce scoop (1/8 cup) to measure, roll into 16 meatballs and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
If desired, heat the tomato sauce in a medium saucepan and place the in the  tomato sauce and simmer, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve, place the meatballs on a serving platter. Drizzle the meatballs with the sauce   and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Garlicky Fried Chicken

Fall Vegetable Lasagna

This hearty lasagna is perfect for that transitional time, when late-summer produce is winding down and the first fall vegetables appear at farmers’ markets. Combining yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, the dish comes together quickly, with a ready-to-use pasta sauce. In this dish, I used butternut squash pasta sauce being offered by the local grocery store and the results were spectacular. Please feel free to use whatever store-bought sauce that you like for this satisfying dish.

Serves 8 to 10

One pound whole milk ricotta cheese
1 Tablespoon julienned fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 yellow summer squash, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
2 zucchini, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
One pound baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
One 24-ounce jar of butternut squash pasta sauce (click here for the resource)
12 sheets dried ruffle-edged lasagna noodles, cooked until al  dente
1/2 pound Italian fontina cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pound plain goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat an oven to 450°F Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, sage, 3 tablespoons of the parsley. oregano, garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the yellow squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, toss mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with thyme, salt and pepper, Place in a large cast iron skillet and transfer to the oven and roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in an Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the yellow squash zucchini and mushrooms. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F .

Spread 1/2 cup  pasta sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles on top, tearing them as needed to fit. Spread 1/2 cup ricotta mixture on the noodles and scatter 1 cup vegetable mixture on top. Spread 1/2 cup  pasta sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle 1/2 cup fontina, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 goat cheese on top. Layer the noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce and cheese three more times, omitting the sauce and cheeses on the last layer. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and fontina.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of  parsley on top. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks


Yes, I am obsessed with cauliflower right now……..

It is truly one of the most under used and most underrated vegetables, yet so versatile.It’s amazing how meaty cauliflower can be. In this recipe, thick slices of cauliflower are treated as if they were steaks, searing thick planks and then topping them with a lemony verde like sauce. The lemon herb sauce would also be just as delicious on chicken, fish and on other assorted vegetables, like asparagus.

This recipe is quick and easy and just in time for “Meatless Mondays” and can be served with steamed rice and a nice tomato salad.

Serves 4

For the Lemon-Herb Sauce:
1 cup parsley leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
½ cup roughly chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
⅓ cup olive oil

For the Cauliflower Steaks:
1 large head cauliflower
4 Tablespoons oil, divided
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine

Make the herb sauce: In a blender or food processor, pulse the parsley, cilantro, mint, green onion, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil until completely smooth. Set aside.

To make the cauliflower steaks: With a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch-thick slices yielding about 8 slices. Rub both sides of each piece of cauliflower with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the cauliflower steaks until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the wine and cook until it is evaporated and the cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife, 3 to 5 minutes. The cauliflower should be easily pierced with a fork but not so tender that it falls apart.

To serve, place 2 cauliflower steaks on each plate and top with a generous drizzle of the lemon-herb sauce. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:
Any leftover lemon-herb sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.