Steak and eggs by way of the garden

Purple cauliflower with poached eggs and truffle oil. Enlarge photo

MATTHEW MEAD/Associated Press

Purple cauliflower with poached eggs and truffle oil.

Much as I love a big, beefy steak, sometimes I need something on the lighter side.

Which doesn’t mean I’m willing to sacrifice the delicious char of the grill or the satisfaction of something big and boldly flavored on my plate.

So I started playing around with the idea of vegetable “steaks” – produce that is cut into thick slabs, then slowly grilled over medium heat until tender and seared. Of course, the cast of vegetable characters with which you can do this is limited. People have been doing it with portobello mushrooms (sans slicing) for years. But I was looking for something new.

For example, butternut squash could be cut into rounds. Ditto for potatoes, both sweet and white. Fennel bulbs could be trimmed and cut in half top to bottom. If you’re good with a knife (and careful as you set them on the grill) even cabbage and broccoli could be done this way.

But my favorite is cauliflower. With some experimenting, I’ve found that a head of cauliflower can be sliced into two thick “steaks” that hold up well on the grill. They can be seasoned as you see fit, and topped with whatever you like. In this recipe, I keep the seasonings simple, then top them with lightly poached eggs and truffle oil, creating a delicious sauce.