By Kiara Bean, Editor-in-Chief
When someone mentions fried food, people usually imagine fried chicken, fried onion rings, fried mozzarella sticks, or fried fish. There are regions in the US where fried food is very popular, and you can find it on the table daily.
But even with the best meals, people can get tired of eating the same thing over and over. So I decided to introduce you to my favorite fried meal: fried cauliflower.
1 head of cauliflower
About 3-4 Tbsp. flour
4 eggs (or more, if you will like the side dish to your cauliflower; see below)
1 can of plain breadcrumbs (if you want to add a particular flavor to your dish, you can experiment with other styles of breadcrumbs or even add your own favorite spice)
Salt (to taste)
- Clean the leaves off the cauliflower. Wash thoroughly.
- Cut into florets. The size will depend on how big pieces of fried cauliflower you want.
- In a large pot, precook the cauliflower in water with salt. After about ten minutes of cooking, start to check it regularly with a fork. You want to be able to push the fork through the cauliflower stem, but you don’t want it to be too soft because the cauliflower will fall apart.
- When you’re able to comfortably stick a fork through the cauliflower stem, drain it and put it on plates to cool off.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add salt.
- Pour some flour onto one plate and some breadcrumbs on another. You will be adding to these plates as needed.
- Arrange the dishes in this order: flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. This is the order you will be dressing the cauliflower in. Also, make sure to have several large empty plates on hand to put the dressed cauliflower on.
- Make sure that you’re not working with very hot cauliflower because then, the flour will melt and make a paste. But also make sure that the cauliflower isn’t cold because then, the flour won’t stick to it. Ideally, you want the cauliflower to be lukewarm.
- One piece at a time, put the cauliflower in the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs (in that order!). The cauliflower has to be completely coated in the flour, or it won’t soak the egg. Just make sure there isn’t too much flour on the cauliflower, or you will make a paste again when you put it into the egg. Use a fork to put the egg on the parts of the cauliflower that aren’t covered in the egg. After you get the egg all over the cauliflower, hold the cauliflower over the bowl till the excess egg drips off. Always stick your fork in the stem; nowhere else. Dressing the cauliflower is very efficient if you can form an assembly line of three people because everyone can work their own station, but it’s manageable with just one person doing the whole process, too.
- Put the dressed cauliflower on an empty plate. Don’t stack the cauliflower.
- If you have leftover eggs, no worries! There’s an amazing side dish you can make with the leftover eggs and breadcrumbs: mini egg tortillas. When you’re done dressing all the cauliflower, you can start on the side dish. Add some breadcrumbs to the eggs and beat them together. The eggs need to have the consistency of a slushy. They can’t be running like water, but they also can’t be so thick that your fork will stand in them either. You will have to adjust the amount of breadcrumbs based on how much egg you have left over.
- Now you can start frying. Pour some oil in a frying pan. If you have a large frying pan, you may be able to do all the cauliflower at once. If your frying pan is smaller, you will have to do more rounds of frying.
- Test if the oil is hot by putting a pinch of breadcrumbs into the oil. It will sizzle when it’s the right temperature.
- Using a little ladle (about two tablespoons for one tortilla), pour the egg-and-breadcrumb mix into the hot oil. Be careful so that the oil doesn’t pop out onto your hand. Don’t turn the burner on very high, or the mix will burn.
- When the egg starts to rise and the edges turn golden, you will have to flip the tortilla so that both sides cook equally. You are looking for a golden yellow color on the tortilla.
- When the tortillas are done, put them on a plate to cool off.
- Add oil to the pan so that you have a quarter inch puddle. The pan can’t have just a thin coat of oil; the cauliflower must sink a little bit in it. You may have to add oil in between batches as needed (not when the cauliflower is in the pan!).
- Test the oil with a pinch of breadcrumbs again to make sure it’s hot.
- When putting the cauliflower into the hot oil, put it in slowly, one piece at a time, so that the oil doesn’t pop out onto your hand.
- While frying, turn the cauliflower regularly so that it fries on all sides. You can help yourself by having a fork in each hand and turning the cauliflower around. You are looking for a nice golden-brown color.
- When it’s done, remove it from the pan, and put it on a plate to cool down.
I like to serve my fried cauliflower and egg tortillas with mashed potatoes or potato salad. Some of my family members like to dip them in ranch dressing. If you still want to have meat as part of your dish, you can use the fried cauliflower and egg tortillas as side dishes.
I like the combination of the softness of the cauliflower and the flavor of the breadcrumb coating. I especially like the egg tortillas, so I always add more eggs than what’s mentioned above in the Ingredients sections of this recipe. It makes the dipping of the cauliflower easier, and then I have plenty of leftover eggs to make more egg tortillas, not just a few. This recipe deserves a definite 5 out of 5 stars.