Jul 2, 2013

Cauliflower in batter + nutmeg

I bought cauliflower again. Nice, full, fresh, white, crisp...boring, boring and boring. I can eat it no problem once or twice in a row. Third time...I don't think so. I should have thought about it when at the market. But a little voice was telling me: eat more cabbage, eat more cabbage.

Cauliflower soup - no, salad - no, tart - no, quiche - no, penne with cauliflower - no, cauliflower cake - no. There must be something that would turn the vegetable into a dish that I, Hania, Julian, my sister and my nephew would want to eat and ask for more. I love when we ask for more...and it's not necessarily a chocolate chip cookie.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. By 4 pm, everybody got hungry and I got the need to get up from the sofa. I did. Then I cooked the cauliflower, while my sister went to get the second egg I needed for the batter. I made the batter, heated the oil and so on.  No mess, work went smooth and fast. Within minutes, we had an exciting dish on the table everybody was oh!-ing about.

The secret of success was in the spice. Nutmeg was its name. It wasn't obvious, but it was there. It gave the dish a subtly sweet taste and it took away the cabbage flavor. Cauliflower at its best! Does it know it?

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano
time: 30 minutes

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite-size (1 or 2 bites) flowers
  • 2 eggs, separated yolks from whites
  • 30 g (1 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 150 g (1 cup) flour
  • 200 ml (5/6 cup) milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • about 1/4 teaspoon salt
oil for frying (I used 500 ml/2 cups canola oil)

  1. Into a large pot of boiling, salted water,  throw cauliflower pieces. Wait till water starts boiling again and cook the vegetable for 1 minute. Remove from water, drain, and cool it under running, cold water.
  2. Prepare batter. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Add Parmesan. Mix some more. Add flour alternating with pouring in milk. Add nutmeg and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites till soft peak forms. Using a rubber spatula, fold the beaten whites slowly into batter.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium high. It should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep and have a temperature of 160C/325F. Do a test and with a drip of batter, it there is a reaction from oil - it's ready.
  5. Cover hand-full of flowers in batter. If it's too thick, add milk or water. And then transfer them to the hot oil. Cook about 1 minute on each side. They should be golden in color. Remove cauliflowers from oil, place on a paper towel for the excess oil to drip down. Eat them hot, warm or cold.

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