Cauliflower Wellington with Herb Crust
This soft, flavoursome and completely fulfilling dish is perfect for Sunday lunch or even Christmas Day. We often hope for leftovers, but everybody wants a slice, a bittersweet compliment.
VEGETARIAN - WINTER
Here's how you do it
1. First, make your puff pastry. Work quickly, so that it does not heat up. Quickly chop your butter into small cubes and put the flour into a processor.
2. Put half the butter in and pulse for 3-4 seconds. Now add the remaining butter and pulse again until breadcrumbs, another 3-4 seconds. Now add you water and pulse again briefly, but you will probably need to form the dough by hand.
3. Knead the dough for around 30 seconds and quickly roll out the pastry onto a floured surface into a large circle, approximately 4mm thick.
4. Now, fold the dough in half, in half again and half again. Cover and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.
5. Next, pop your cauliflower in a pan of shallow boiling water, for 5-8 minutes with the lid on, to parboil and soften it ever so slightly. Keep an eye on it, ensuring it doesn’t soften completely. You can, of course, steam it for 5-10 minutes to do the same job. This keeps more nutrients in, however, you will need a steamer big enough to hold a whole cauli! Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
6. Now, set your oven to 200 degrees.
7. Time to make your herby pesto to coat your cauli. In a food processor, blend the onion, herbs and watercress along with the olive oil, lemon juice and pinch of salt.
8. Fry this pureed mix off in a little garlic oil with a small splash of balsamic, just to soften, be vigilant not to burn. Remove from the heat.
9. Once, cool to the touch, brush the cauli with a little soy sauce and then using your fingers, smear the herby mix all over, until the florets are completely coated.
10. Now, retrieve your pastry from the fridge and very carefully, unwrap it again onto your work surface. Sprinkle half the cheese into the middle of the pastry, forming a smaller circle.
11. Very carefully, upturn your cauli and place it into the centre of the cheese on the pastry and fold the edges of the dough over, pinching it together at the base of the cauliflower, ensuring it is all sealed nicely.
12. Finally, place the whole cauli the right way up in a baking tray and brush with a beaten egg.
13. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Then remove and add the remaining grated cheese to the top and bake again for another 10 minutes.
14. Serve warm, and enjoy!
Serving suggestions are basically anything that would typically accompany a traditional roast, but we have found that roasted carrots in orange juice, garlic fried green beans, crispy roast potatoes, balsamic glazed fried sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes all work beautifully with this dish.
Meaties may be a little apprehensive at their traditional meat roast being replaced with cauliflower, but my meat loving husband was bowled over, likening the herby flavouring and the soft puff pastry to his beloved sausage rolls, so I guess that’s a win as many meaties just need to be reminded that vegetables can be just as flavoursome. If you come from the steamed veg camp, honestly, there is so much more that can be done to spice up your veg, literally!
For the puff pastry:
- 250g cold butter
- 250g plain flour
- 100ml very cold water
- Pinch of salt
For the filling:
- One whole cauliflower
- Two shallots
- Four handfuls of fresh herbs (I use a handful each of thyme, sage, basil and chives)
- Generous handful of watercress
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Garlic oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Two small handfuls of grated cheese
- Free-range egg to glaze