Caramelised Cauliflower with Grana Padano Crust, Nutty Butter, Cauliflower Rib Salad with Orange

30 minutes
to cook

Alex Mackay, cook, teacher, writer, and food lover serves up a collection of his recipes made for sharing showing the versatility of Grana Padano PDO cheese. With lite bites to quick pasta: brunch to supper standbys you can find recipes for every occassion this Easter.

Cauliflower has burst back into bloom. It's gone from a forgotten vegetable to a glamourous chameleon; exotic cauliflower couscous, cauliflower steak, whole roast cauliflower with pine needles, cauliflower panna cotta. But it is still best with cheese and gosh it loves the Grana Padano. Everything can be cut and ready to cook hours before you start.

Serves 2 Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes; Difficulty: Moderate

  • method
  • Ingredients


1. Start with the cauliflower, take all the large ribs and smaller leaves off the outside but leave the stalk whole. Set the leaves aside. Carefully cut the cauliflower down the middle.
2. Get a shallow, preferably non-stick pan that you have a tight fitting lid for that is just large enough to fit the cauliflower in. Too large and the butter will burn around the edges, too small and it won't caramelise. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt over a medium heat. Put the 40g of grated Grana Padano on a plate. Season the cauliflower halves with salt. Put them, cut side down, into the butter, lift them out, then press them into the grated Grana Padano cheese. Next, put the cauliflower halves, Grana Padano side down into the pan. Put the lid on. Turn the heat to low. Mix the remaining Grana Padano with the sour cream. Season with black pepper. Set aside.
3. Gently fry the cauliflower for 20 minutes, with the lid on, the cauliflower face fries while the rest of it steams. Once it is cooked, you'll be able to pierce it easily with a knife (I use a roasting fork, it just seems right) and the frying side will be darkly burnished brown. Keep an eye on the pan so that the butter and cauliflower don't burn. It should be a gentle sizzle the whole time.
4. While the cauliflower cooks, get a medium sized bowl, add the honey and extra virgin olive oil. Put a sieve over the top. Use a zester to remove the orange zest into the sieve. Get a sharp knife. Cut the top and bottom off the orange so that it sits flat on your chopping board. Cut away the peel in strips, being sure to remove all of the white pith. Hold the orange over the sieve then cut out each segment of flesh between the white membranes. Set the segments and zest aside. Squeeze the juice from the core that remains into the bowl with the honey and oil. Season with salt.
5. Boil your kettle to fill a large saucepan, or a steamer if you have one with boiling water (much faster this way) from your kettle. Trim any brown off the edges of the cauliflower ribs and leaves. Peel the stringy outsides from the larger ribs and trim the ends. Leave the smaller leaves whole. Once the cauliflower has fried for 10 minutes, boil or steam the large stalks for 4-5 minutes until tender, then add the smaller leaves for 2 minutes more, test them with the tip of a knife. Toss the warm cauliflower ribs and leaves with the orange dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Add the 20g of butter to the pan with the cauliflower. Once it has melted, take the cauliflower out of the pan. Add the almonds, toss them well, add the parsley and the juice in the bottom of the bowl with the cauliflower ribs. Bring this sauce to the boil, season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower back to the pan. Put the Grana Padano sour cream on the plate, layer the ribs, cream, leaves, orange segments and zest on the top. Shave Grana Padano over everything.


1 small to medium cauliflower (mine weighed 600g)
40g plus 20g unsalted butter
40g grated Grana Padano PDO
80g sour cream
1 orange
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
20g flaked almonds
10g flat leaf parsley sprigs
To Serve
Grana Padano PDO Shavings
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

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