This was a quick Veguary lunch that got out of hand. The original idea was to start with a pakora recipe, and pack in the flavour of those big, heavy parmesan/anchovy/garlic meatballs from Kitchen Diaries. But the idea drifted a bit, and they came out lighter, more subtle. You get these wonderful little bursts of slightly astringent flavour where the cauliflower sears and the batter’s crispy, too.
This is a bit of an off the cuff one, and you may want to experiment with it.
If you do want to put a bit of umami and body back in here, all meatball style, consider roasting the cauliflower instead of boiling it. Get some brown on there, and maybe even add a little soy.
- Cauliflower, half a medium one – 350g or so
- Gram flour, 60g
- Sage, 3-4 big leaves
- Parmesan, 20g
- Egg, 1
- Garlic, 3 cloves
- Spring onion, 2-3
- Black pepper, some
This made 8 small-ish fritters, which was amply enough for two lunch portions. It should double up neatly with the whole cauliflower and do starters for 4-6, mains for 3-4.
Strain well, and leave this to dry and cool a bit.
Shred the sage, finely slice spring onion, and grate the parmesan.
Rough chop or mash the cooled cauliflower, ensuring the garlic doesn’t stay in too large chunks.
Mix everything together thoroughly. It may need a bit of salt, and a tablespoon of water if it seems very thick.
Get a (non-stick) pan medium hot with plenty of oil, and dollop in spoonfuls of the cauliflower mix, forming rough patties. Fry these gently for about 4 minutes on each side, until golden.
It can help to do this in batches, and that’s fine because they’ll want finishing in the oven. 10-15 minutes or so at 150c will sort them out nicely.
I ate these in pitas with rocket and Sriracha mayo, but I’ve got that brain thing.
They’ll serve well with a rough tomato sauce – the one pictured up the page is pretty much just baby plum tomatoes fried to mush with garlic, and finished with a little sugar and red wine. Chutney ought to work, too. My grandmother’s green tomato chutney would be epic here. One day I’ll hunt down the recipe.
They’re quite subtle for that quantity of parmesan, and could even take more sage. The gram flour means there’s not too much stodge, and gives it a richness, with the deep savoury of the cauliflower holding it all together.
I’ve also made these into a pretty effective veggie burger, using a lower quantity of plain white flour, no sage, more pepper, and a vast quantity of mature cheddar. They’re a bit fragile, tricky to turn, and certainly need an oven finish. But they’re like a gooey little patty of excessive cauliflower cheese.