A Healthier Way to Serve Cauliflower

Cauliflower. A bland, flabby, insipid vegetable, redolent of disappointingly (but unsurprisingly) awful school dinners. Always cooked to the point of absolute collapse, it simply tastes like gone-bad cabbage (and leaves a lingeringly whiffy smell in the kitchen for hours too).
The only way you could get me to eat cauliflower was in one of two recipes:
1) Smothered (read disguised) in a cheese sauce and baked in the oven. Yes, the archetypal Cauliflower Cheese or
2) Pureed to within an inch of it's life and served as soup.
One masks its delicate flavour, the other enhances it, both deliciously.
However, since last night, all this has changed.
I had bought a cauliflower a couple of weeks ago and it still looked and felt and smelt not too bad (which is testament to the longevity of the cauliflower - more so than a post-apocalyptic cockroach). I had planned on making soup with it as part of my five day soup campaign but that fell by the wayside. Instead, it lingered in the fridge, rolling out every time I opened the door. Something had to be done.
Whilst looking for ways to utilise the beetroot, I came across this recipe in Lindsay Bareham's The Fish Store: Deep Fried Cauliflower with Mustard Sauce. Hmm, deep fried? Sounds good!
I am now a deep frying fanatic. Monday we deep fried prawns in Fish-Fry, I perfected Souffle Beignets and now the Cauliflower.
You can buy all sorts of pre-prepared breadcrumbs or coating but the best is your own freshly blitzed crumbs. The tedium of the conveyor belt-type process: flour - egg - crumbs - oil, is quickly overcome by the reward of seeing your deep fried food of choice turning golden brown and crisp, just waiting to be plunged into a creamy or spicy dip.
These are really easy to make, and would make a great appetizer for a party because they stay warm for ages (and taste good cold too). Plus, because the fried stuff on the outside, is filled with healthy vegetable stuff on the inside, they're good for you too, right? Right??
Note: One cauliflower makes quite a lot of these golden morsels, but it depends on the size floret. I had to ask Paul what size a floret was and apparently it varies. To make things more complicated there isn't even a kitchen implement that gauges the size of the floret! From a big bough of the cauliflower (I like to think of them as anaemic trees) to discarded branch size, apparently a floret is down to personal choice. Just to be on the safe side, I did a variety.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this month by the matriarch of the event, Kalyn at Kalyns Kitchen!
DEEP FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH MUSTARD DIP Serves 2 greedy pigs or up to 6 non-greedy people!
1 Cauliflower, clean and cut into florets of various sizes
4 slices of stale Bread (I used white, but I think brown would be just as good too), turned into breadcrumbs (we used our food processor but a blender works too)
2 Large Eggs Beaten
30g Flour
Oil for Frying. We use sunflower oil.
Heat a large pan of vegetable oil to frying temperature. You will be deep frying the cauliflower.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Throw in the Cauliflower Florets and boil for two minutes. Drain well.
In three separate bowls place the flour, egg and the breadcrumbs.
Put the florets, a few at a time, into the flour, then the egg, the the breadcrumbs, ensuring that they are thoroughly coated.
Drop them into the hot oil. They will start to sizzle immediately if the heat is hot enough.
Whilst the first batch is frying, you can start on preparing the second.
Once they are golden brown, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat process until the Cauliflower (or breadcrumbs) are used up.
Serve alongside the dip.

For the Dip:
4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Some Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
Whisk the Mayo and Mustard together. Squeeze over some lemon juice and season to taste.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It's deep fried. It's good.
Check out Kalyn's Twice Baked Cauliflowe. It's good too.

Ulrike said...

I love cauliflower!

Lydia said...

Yet another recipe that tempts me -- almost -- to give cauliflower another try. I think it's not the taste that gets to me, but the smell of cooked cauliflower that brings up some deep (and unpleasant) memories of my mother's cooking. And yet, this does look good....

ros said...

Deep frying makes everything good!
I like to do this kind of thing on occasion but with my current tiny rubbish shared kitchen it's very difficult. Next year, I'll have a kitchen of my own and I will deep fry to my heart's content and make as much mess as I like!

Brilynn said...

Deep frying makes everything better!

Kelly-Jane said...

They look like golden puffy clouds!


Gemma said...

That looks really good. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower and am scared of deep frying but maybe I'll have to learn to get over it!

wheresmymind said...

I dig roasting with garlic :)

Julia said...

Ooh I made deep fried courgette strips the other night!

Joyce said...

Love fried food BUT what could be unhealthier? Don't start to enumerate. Many, many things.
Oven roasted is the way to go. Same crisp, sweet flavor but without the ill effects of fried foods. The house smells better, too.
Have to admit, just reading the post caused major salivation!

Kathryn said...

I like cauliflower and I love the idea of it deep-fried.... as long as someone else does the deep-frying, of course...

Yum, it looks lovely!

Callipygia said...

Yes, of course fried this would be brilliant. Poor cauliflower few of us truly accept you as you are- sigh.

Homesick Texan said...

I actually like cauliflower in most incarnations, but this is just too much! So decadent and delicious!

Kalyn said...

I've finally learned from another blogger that if I right-click on your comment link and select "open link in new window" it opens up the window all the way and I can actually leave a comment. So I hope you will forgive me for all those commentless weeks when I read your WHB posts and wasn't able to comment. This sounds fantastic. Deep fried, what more do you need to say? It has to taste good, right?

(So sweet of Tanna to give a recommendation for my Twice Baked Cauliflower. I have to say, it's a very good preparation method for cauliflower if you're going to continue to expand your cauliflower horizons.)

Terry B said...

With something that sounds this good, who cares if it's healthy or not? Besides, the vegetable aspect kind of balances out the frying, I think.

I'm another fan of cauliflower. It's my favorite raw veggie for dips or adding to a salad. My wife sometimes purees it--not into a soup, but thicker, as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Excellent!

Chris said...

I am a big fan of cauliflower but tend to be a bit boring with preparing it...I love this! And the dipping sauce....(wait, is my mouth drooling?)

Toni said...

I've had 2 posts recently about cauliflower. What's going on here? ;-)

Actually, I rather like the stuff - it's like a blank canvas on which you can add any flavor you wish. Haven't deep fried since grandma was a girl, but I can practically taste the crunchy florets -Yummmm!!

Gattina said...

I don't dislike cauliflower, but anything deep-fried, and anything with mustard, I'd just love it!

Melting Wok said...

freya, wish I could be as hard working as you to make your own breadcrumbs, oo..it's like lil' cauliflower tempuras with panko breading instead, yummys ! :)

Paulie said...

Cauliflower tempura! Awesome!


Kristen said...

What a great idea!

Katie said...

How to make a lo-cal (boring) vegetable into high-cal (delicious) treat....I love it. Anything to dip into that sauce, though....

Susan said...

I love cauliflower all ways. I especially love your dipping sauce which I could see working well with other veggies or even on sandwiches. Mmmm. Thanks!

Margaret said...

I love deep fried cauliflower!! I've never thought about making a dip for it though.

Kate said...

My favorite way to eat this vegetable is roasted. I toss it in seasoned oil and roast until browned and tender. It's divine that way!

Eileen said...

My favorite way to eat cauliflower is in Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potato Curry). It's very tasty - enough to get me to try cauliflower. I never used to eat it because it reminds me of tumors.