Seared Cauliflower + Leek and Mushroom Crostini
1 large head or 2 small heads of cauliflower
Escarole (leafy top part only—reserve the rest for another use), cleaned and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
Break cauliflower into small florets, ranging from the size of a dime to a quarter. Reserve the stems for another use.
In a smoking hot sauté pan, add enough oil to coat the bottom. Toss in just enough cauliflower so the pan isn’t crowded. Season with salt and let sear for a few minutes. Toss a couple of times and repeat until all of the cauliflower is seared. Remove from heat.
Wipe out the pan and return to stove over low heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom and toss in walnuts. Toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant, and add raisins. Remove from heat. Let sit for a few minutes, stirring every so often.
Place a separate pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add escarole. Sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and salt. Once escarole is cooked through, remove from pan and squeeze all the water out between paper towels. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Mix everything together and check seasoning. Serve at room temperature.
Leek and Oyster Mushroom Crostini
Leeks (bottom half only)
Oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sprig of thyme
¼ cup chopped parsley
5 ounces goat cheese
½ cup whole milk
Slice leeks in half length-wise, then chop into half-moon slices. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks and swish them around. Set aside. This will allow any dirt to drop to the bottom.
Set a sauté pan over high heat. When smoking hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add mushrooms sparingly and allow to sear. Do not crowd pan. (A crowded pan means that water from each mushroom will steam the mushrooms around it, and steam is the enemy of a good sear!) Season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all of the mushrooms are seared.
Remove leeks from the water. (Do not put through a strainer or you’ll just add the dirt back into the leeks.) In a sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter and add a tablespoon olive oil. Add leeks, turn heat down to low and sweat them for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and thyme. Cook for a few more minutes, then add mushrooms and parsley. Adjust seasoning to taste.
In a small bowl mix the cheese and the milk together until smooth. Spread cheese mixture on crostini and top with mushrooms and leeks. Finish with good quality sea salt.
Note: You can also eat the mushrooms and leeks all on their own, or add them to pasta. These babies are not for appetizers only!