And today’s spring vegetable is… cauliflower! No we are not a vegetarian household; we’re just still working through all those gorgeous vegetables from my father’s garden. I imagine that this is how our predecessors used to eat. No take away, no pre packaged food, no food miles. Just lovely, seasonal garden produce, and innovative ideas on how to use it all up.
Here’s how we devoured two heads of cauliflower.
Cauliflower Florets Crusted with Semolina and Polenta
1 head of cauliflower
Dash of vinegar
2 – 3 eggs; depends on the size of the head of cauliflower
Splash of water
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 cup polenta
Generous pinch of sea salt
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
Lemon to serve
Blanching the Cauliflower Florets
I find it easiest to blanch the cauliflower whole and then separate the head into individual florets. If you want to speed up the process and blanch separated florets, follow the instructions but adjust the blanching time to 3 -5 minutes.
REMOVE outer leaves from head of cauliflower. Then remove the stalk from the head by cutting around it with a sharp knife. Once the stalk is removed, make an “X” in the core of the cauliflower approximately 2cm deep. This will speed up the cooking time.
FILL a saucepan large enough to hold the cauliflower head with water, add a pinch of salt and a dash of vinegar and bring to boil.
ADD whole head, core side down, to the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 – 12 minutes until the florets are tender but still crisp.
DRAIN cauliflower head in a colander, then place on a plate lined with paper towel and allow to sit for a few minutes before separating into individual florets. The paper towels should absorb any residual moisture so the florets are super dry for crusting.
Crusting the Cauliflower Florets
I like to use a mixture of bread crumbs, semolina and polenta for my crust, but you can use any combination of the above as long as there is 2 cups of dry crusting ingredients per head of cauliflower. I’ve often crusted the cauliflower with polenta only for my gluten intolerant guests.
PLACE the polenta, semolina and breadcrumbs onto a large plate and season generously with salt and cayenne pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.
CRACK the eggs into a small bowl, adding a splash of water to loosen the wash. Season with salt. Beat lightly.
DIP the cauliflower florets one at a time into the egg wash and then the crusting mixture. Make sure you coat each floret completely. Set aside on a clean plate.
POUR enough sunflower oil into a wide frypan or wok to cover the base; about 2 cm deep. Heat oil on medium heat. Test to see if it’s hot enough by adding a cube of bread. If it browns in 30 or so seconds, its ready for frying.
SHALLOW FRY batches of cauliflower florets on all sides until golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
SERVE with plenty of lemon and sea salt.