8 oz cremini mushroom (75 g), including stems, trimmed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
3 large sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g), divided, plus 3 tablespoons
2 ½ cups whole milk (600 mL), divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup cornstarch (60 g)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
3 large eggs, beaten
canola oil, for frying
fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
How to Make It
Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and trim the stem so the cauliflower can sit upright on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cauliflower into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slabs. Reserve any florets that fall off as you are cutting. You should get 3 to 4 “steaks.”
Fill a large, shallow pan with 1½-2 inches (4-5 cm) of water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Working in batches, gently lower cauliflower steaks into the water. They should be just barely submerged. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the stems can be pierced easily with a fork but are still slightly firm. Transfer the steaks to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining steaks. Cook reserved florets for 2-3 minutes, until pierced easily with a fork.
Drain cooking water from the pan and wipe dry. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sage, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices and brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in 3 tablespoons flour, mixing well to coat the mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flour just starts to brown.
Pour in 2 cups (480 ml) milk and stir well to incorporate. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
In a shallow dish, mix together the remaining flour, the cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and 2 teaspoons salt.
In a separate shallow dish, whisk to combine the eggs with the remaining milk.
Working in batches, dip the cauliflower steaks and florets in the flour mixture, turning to coat completely. Dip in the egg mixture, letting any excess egg drip off. Dredge once more in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour or clumps.
Heat 1½ inches (3 cm) of canola oil in a large, high-sided pan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 325˚F (160˚C).
Working in batches, carefully lower 1-2 cauliflower steaks at a time into the hot oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until deep golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain and repeat with the remaining cauliflower steaks and florets.
Pour the gravy over the cauliflower steaks and garnish with parsley and black pepper. Serve the florets with gravy in a small bowl, for dipping.