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Where EAST meets the Northwest

VEGETARIAN VERSION. Pictured is a serving of Breaded Cauliflower Cutlets with Marinara, a wonderful vegetarian version of breaded veal (or pork or chicken) cutlets swimming in a marinara sauce. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

From The Asian Reporter, V27, #1 (January 2, 2017), page 13.

Ready for breaded cutlets of a different kind? Cauliflower!

By Sara Moulton

The Associated Press

Letís say one of your New Yearís resolutions is to eat healthier and lose some weight. Join the crowd, right?

In practice, what we probably mean ó among other things ó is that we plan to eat more vegetables and less meat. Itís a challenge. But if you try this dish ó a wonderful vegetarian version of breaded veal (or pork or chicken) cutlets swimming in a marinara sauce ó you will see how easy and satisfying it can be to turn a resolution into reality.

You start by slicing a whole head of cauliflower into cutlets. The idea is to end up with thick slabs of the vegetable. One easy method for doing this is to cut the head in half down the center, then turn each half on its cut side and cut the halves into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. There will always be a few loose bits from the ends, but those also can be breaded and cooked as described below.

Youíll want to take care with the breading, too. Itís a three-step process: dust the steaks lightly with cornstarch, coat them well with an egg mixture, then finish them with a layer of breadcrumbs. This is standard operating procedure among culinary pros. The three layers provide a more substantial crust than any other single coating or combo of coatings.

Now itís time to brown your vegetable cutlets. You could do it in a skillet ó just as you would a breaded meat cutlet ó but that would require a ton of oil (those breadcrumbs just soak it up). And remember, itís the New Year and youíre on a new path. So we bake them instead, which requires a lot less oil. The key is to place the cutlets fairly close to the heat source. In my electric oven thatís the top of the stove. If theyíre not properly browned at the end of the prescribed cooking time, just leave them in the oven a little longer.

Then dig in. The biggest flavor is going to come from the marinara sauce. Your brain likely wonít care at all whether the cutlet is veal or vegetable. But your body will thank you.

Sara Moulton is host of public televisionís "Saraís Weeknight Meals." She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including "Cooking Live." Her latest cookbook is Home Cooking 101.

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Breaded Cauliflower Cutlets with Marinara

Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes (45 minutes active)

Servings: 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 large head cauliflower

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups speedy marinara (recipe below) or store-bought marinara, heated

Heat the oven to 400ļ Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine the oil and garlic. Set aside.

Pull off any leaves from the stem end of the cauliflower and trim off just enough of the stem so the cauliflower stands flat on the counter. Slice the cauliflower head in half down the center top to bottom. One at a time, set each half onto its cut side. Starting from one end of each half, slice crosswise to create 1/2-inch-thick slices. This will yield three to four cutlets from the center of each half, with the small ends being chunks. The chunks can be prepared as the cutlets, or reserved for another use.

In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, three tablespoons of water, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

On a sheet of kitchen parchment paper, combine the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stirring the mixture with a fork to combine. On a second sheet of parchment, combine the panko with the cheese, stirring with a fork.

One at a time, coat the cauliflower cutlets (and trimmings, if using) on both sides with the cornstarch, knocking off the excess. Next, dip each in the egg mixture, coating them on both sides and letting the excess drip off. Finally, coat them with the panko mixture, patting the crumbs on well. Set aside.

Strain the garlic oil through a mesh strainer, pressing hard on the garlic to get out all the oil. Discard the garlic (or reserve for another use).

On a rimmed baking sheet, spread half of the oil in an even coating. Set the baking sheet on the ovenís top shelf and heat for five minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and quickly arrange the prepared cauliflower on it in a single layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, drizzle the tops of the cauliflower evenly with the remaining oil, turn them over, then bake for another 15 minutes. Divide the cauliflower among four serving plates, then serve topped with marinara.

Nutrition information per serving: 490 calories (190 calories from fat, 39 percent of total calories); 21 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 170 mg cholesterol; 1,110 mg sodium; 58 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 17 g protein.

Speedy Marinara

Start to finish: 35 minutes (10 minutes active)

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 large cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Hefty pinch red pepper flakes

28-ounce can plum tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), chopped

Kosher salt

In an unheated medium saucepan, combine the garlic and oil. Turn the heat to medium and cook, turning over the garlic several times, until it is just golden, four to six minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt, then bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook at a brisk simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the garlic. Season with salt.

Nutrition information per 1/2 cup: 60 calories (25 calories from fat, 42 percent of total calories); 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 460 mg sodium; 8 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 1 g protein.

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