Cauliflower steaks with two versions of watermelon salsa

It’s been super hot in the past few weeks here in Berlin. The perfect time for salads, chilled soups, zingy berry popsicles and of course outdoor barbecue! I remember the parks of Berlin, especially the Tiergarten, to be filled with the delicious odour of the big Turkish barbecue parties. Apparently this has been forbidden years ago and my childhood memories of the summerly Tiergarten differ greatly from the tourist site it is now. However, even if you live in a big city I’m sure you’ll find a nice spot to get the barbecue going whether it’s the garden of a friend or a nice spot in a park or on a lakeside. And today we won’t be grilling plain old steaks, but delicious cauli ‘steaks’ with a super refreshing salsa of everyones favourite summer fruit: watermelon! YEAH!

cauliflower steaks and watermelon salsa

I guess I’ve already mentioned how much I love cauliflower. Yes, like the other members of the brassica family it’s super healthy and all, but man, it does taste good. It’s definitely my favorite roasted veg – I like to season it with ‘warm’ spices like cumin, turmeric and nutmeg and then combine it with fresh things like herbs, fruit (like in my cauliflower and rhubarb salad) or yoghurt. So good! And of course you can also roast the cauliflower in the oven for this recipe, if you don’t get the chance to grill it outdoors.

Golly, watermelon, mint and feta is a match made in heaven. I first came across the flavour combination of watermelon and feta thanks to a recipe of baked Feta with watermelon and chili oil in Maria Elia’s The Modern Vegetarian. We made it in my old flat share and were blown away. So I made two versions of the watermelon salsa, because I couldn’t decide for just one – they are both so good in their own way. The first one is my reference to the Mediterranean and the second one is inspired by another summer favourite of mine: Peruvian ceviche. Both salsas are super light and refreshing and not only a great accompaniment for roasted cauliflower but also for grilled meat. Trust me, you’ll love it! It’s also way more impressive than the ordinary potato salad that you often find on  barbecue parties. One of the salsas is enough for about 4 people, so you may want to use two heads of cauliflower if you don’t serve any meat cuts alongside.

Cauliflower steaks with two versions of watermelon salsa

1 -2 heads of cauliflower (depending on how many people you plan to feed – one head only renders 3-4 ‘steak’ like cuts)

1 tbsp coconut oil

sea salt and chili flakes to taste

1) Watermelon salsa – Mediterranean style

1/4 watermelon (300g net)

100g ripe cherry tomatoes

100g  black olives

100g caper berries

130g Feta cheese

1/2 small red onion

small bunch of basil

1 tbsp high quality olive oil

1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and black pepper to taste

watermelon salsa

2) Watermelon salsa – Peruvian style

1/4 watermelon (300g net)

1 avocado

1/2 cucumber

1 small bunch of mint

1  small bunch of coriander

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp avocado oil (or use olive oil instead)

sea salt and chili flakes to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 °C or get your outdoor barbecue ready. If you’re making the Italien style watermelon salsa, start by finely slicing the red onion and allow some time (ca. 30 minutes) to marinate it in the vinegar. This will make its taste less overpowering.

Remove the leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower from top to base into thick slices, 2-3cm thick “steaks.” Try to get them as intact as possible and reserve any loose florets for another use. Brush the steaks with coconut oil and season with sea salt and chili flakes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, carefully place the cauliflower steaks on it and bake for about 30 minutes until they start to become tender. Or gently grill them on the barbecue.

Basically all you have to do now is finely chopping all the ingredients. I left my salsa rather chunky, but there is no right or wrong here.

When the cauliflower is nicely roasted, place it on a platter and top with the salsa. For the Italian version: crumble the Feta on top and drizzle with a good glug of high quality olive oil.

Watermelon Salsa with Cauliflower Steak // From Hand To Mouth