Now let me just say, I am not a fan of cauliflower – it is certainly not the first vegetable I would choose as I find it more often than not rather bland – but after making this particular dish I am a convert. Friends, I am now a cauliflower lover! I recall some time ago seeing Jamie Oliver prepare a similar dish and have been wanting to try it for a while and then today as I meandered through the veggie section of my local green grocer I spotted a beautiful white cauliflower, its firm florets cradled in a bed of green leaves. I cannot tell you how delicious this dish is – the batter made with cornflour is not thick and claggy and crisps up beautifully when fried. The addition of cumin serves to bring out the earthy flavours of the cauliflower raising it to a whole new level of deliciousness that does not involve the usual cheese sauce. When looking for a recipe one or two suggested using smoked Spanish paprika – please feel free to substitute ordinary paprika with the smoked variety if you wish, however I find the Spanish paprika too overpowering and did not opt to do so – I really think it would have masked the cauliflower’s delicate flavour. The recipe below serves four – but I must warn you it made a lot. My family wolfed it down though, like a pack of hungry Alsatians who hadn’t eaten in a week. A good sign I think! This makes a wonderful vegetarian main dish but I imagine they would go just as well served as an accompaniment to a roast chicken.
Cauliflower Fritters with paprika and cumin served with garlic yoghurt
Serves 4 hungry people
1 cauliflower (around 600g) cut into florets
3 free range eggs, separated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper ( I always use Maldon salt)
3/4 cup cornflour (Maizena)
1/2 cup cold water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika ( smoked, if you wish)
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
around 1/2 cup of olive oil, for frying
Mixed salad leaves to serve ( I used a mixture of baby butter lettuce leaves and wild rocket)
red onion, finely sliced for serving
For the garlicky yoghurt sauce combine:
1/2 cup thick greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the cauliflower florets in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh with cold water. Roughly chop – try to keep it rustic as you still want to be able to identify it as cauliflower in your Fritters. Whisk the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper, add the cornflour a little at a time alternating with the water and whisking to avoid lumps. Once the water and cornflour is incorporated stir through the onion, cauliflower, coriander, cumin and paprika and check for seasoning. Don’t be alarmed – the batter is thin! In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into the cauliflower batter, in two batches using a metal spoon. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Drop a tablespoon of the cauliflower batter in at a time ( 1 spoonful is sufficient for 1 fritter) be careful not to overcrowd the pan and start off with two fritters at a time. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain on a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
To serve: Arrange the fritters, along with the salad leaves (dressed with some olive oil and lemon, if you like) on a plate, scatter over the red onion and spoon over some of the garlic yoghurt. Season to taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice if you wish.