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Greek Crumbed Cauli

Does it seem odd eating just one vegetable for dinner?  We do it quite often. Variety is the key in nutrition, but it doesn’t all have to be in the one meal.  I also love platter meals, where dinner is served on one platter for everyone to help themselves from, rather than individual plates. It’s a nice sociable way to eat. This recipe is great for a fast, easy, informal platter meal.

Cauliflowers are just coming into season fully now, so if you are going to have meals based just on caulis, now is the time of year to do it. (At least in the southern hemisphere). Even if they are not home grown or labelled “organic” cauliflower this time of year are much less likely to be carrying a load of insecticides. And if you have kids who are a bit suss on crucifers, this is a conversion recipe.

The Recipe:

Break a cauliflower into little flowerets and put them in a big pot with water, a good pinch of salt, and a lemon cut into quarters (skin and all). Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or less, till the cauli is tender but not soft.

While the cauli is cooking, make up an assembly line for crumbing.

The first bowl has the wet mix. You have a couple of choices:  You can use just eggs and milk (2 eggs beaten with ½ cup of milk), or, if you have sourdough, it works really well with ½ cup of  sourdough starter with an egg and a little milk beaten into it.  Whichever you use, add a little salt and a grinding of pepper.

The second bowl has the dry mix: half and half breadcrumbs and finely grated parmesan cheese.  You need about half a cup of each for a medium sized cauli, but exact quantities will depend on the size of your cauli and the size you cut it up.  Good breadcrumbs make the dish. I make my own – whenever I have the end of a loaf of heavy, wholegrain bread left over when the new one comes out of the oven, I put it in a very slow oven as it cools down.  I blend the dried, lightly browned bread in the food processor and store in a glass jar. It will last like that practically forever.

Put a heavy frypan on to heat up to medium hot (not smoking hot) with about 1½cm of olive oil.

Drain the cauliflower and cool under cold running water for a minute.

Dip the flowerets into the egg mix, then into the breadcrumb mix, then shallow fry for just a couple of minutes, turning with tongs, until brown and crunchy. Drain on paper as they come out.

Serve on a platter to share, with a dipping sauce.  Although it’s totally not traditional, my favourite is a mix of homemade mayonnaise, chili jam and soy sauce.

(Tuesday Night Vego Challenge recipes are fast, easy, healthy, in season, from scratch.  I am trying to post one a week every week this year,  and collecting your links and ideas in the comments.)

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Sarah July 18, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I am drooling just looking at that and thinking I should whip some up for my lunch!

    I have a SUPER picky toddler at the moment, so I’m going to be very boring this week and make cauliflower macaroni and cheese. I’m hoping that he’ll eat the cauliflower if it’s mixed with his favourites, cheese and pasta. At least I found out he’ll happily eat brown rice mixed with red quinoa last night. Lots of goodness there.

  • Jason Dingley July 18, 2012, 1:47 pm

    One of my cooking specialities is crumbed egg plant. For many years I convinced my eldest daughter that it was chicken snitchel, and she loved it. Then one day she caught me preparing it, and ever since she claims it to taste disgusting and never liking it.

  • L July 18, 2012, 5:33 pm

    YUM! And guess who has a cauliflower sitting in the fridge…

  • Celia July 19, 2012, 6:37 am

    Linda, this is a very clever recipe! I’ve been taught that we need to flour, then egg, then crumb, but by adding the sourdough starter to the egg, you can do the first two steps in one go! Also, good to know that caulis are a bit less pesticided at this time of year, thank you!

  • Sandy July 19, 2012, 9:59 am

    I love it! We started harvesting our cauliflowers last weekend, so I cracked the good old Stephanie Alexander’s Cook Companion. There was a nice cauliflower and potato pie in there that we tried, but I’m looking forward to trying your recipe next!

  • Liesel July 20, 2012, 12:40 am

    Did a compromise version for dinner tonight – cauli and other vegies in low-fat white sauce, but topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Not nearly as divine as that photo up there looks, but there are dieters in the household and it would be sabotage!
    On another topic, any thoughts on organic remedies for the grey squishy scale that is the bane of my brassicas at this time of year? Tuscan kale and cauli both affected.

  • Linda July 20, 2012, 9:28 am

    Hi Liesel,
    yes, can’t claim that one as low fat! Though it did surprise me how little oil it absorbs. I think maybe because it cooks quickly it doesn’t soak it up. I put about a cupful of oil in the pan, but still had about three quarters of a cup left at the end.

    About the scale – Are you sure they’re a scale? Or are they mealybugs? If they’re mealybugs, all you can really do at this stage is hose them off, but it’s so wet at the moment that won’t be nice. But, like most pests, once you have them it’s too late to do much about it. You get them because your plants have grown too fast and too lushly, with thin cell walls – basically too much nitrogen compared to everything else. You need soil that is more balanced – more compost and seaweed brew, less animal manure. And you need more predators – ladybeetles, parasitic wasps and lacewings, for which you need flowering plants so they can complete their lifecycle. Flowering umbelliferae in particular – celery, parsley, coriander, cumin, chervil, fennel, dill, Queen Anne’s lace. I get them sometimes on brussels sprouts but usually not on the other brassicas.

  • kim July 21, 2012, 5:09 pm

    Oh that recipe is to die for….can’t wait to try it. It reminds me of a ‘tapas’ style dish.Thank you once again for bringing some more vegetarian recipes into our household.

  • Jayne July 28, 2012, 7:45 pm

    Hi Linda
    I tried this tonight. My first batch didn’t work – I think my home made crumb was too chunky and wouldn’t hold onto the cauli. I changed to a commercial crumb and things picked up.Also, I didn’t have any sourdough starter so my batter was a bit thin. I was really surprised just how delicious this simple little meal is. I’ll try and make my own bread crumb again next week and see if I can get a better result. Thanks for posting! Jayne

  • Jason Dingley August 6, 2012, 4:52 pm

    I gave this a try on the weekend. The children and I had a jit (just in time) production line happening. We also through broccoli in the mix. Turned out great! thanks.

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