Like most everyone with a pulse, I love crispy, high-fat food. I also like a good honest hot oil burn on my forearm, so deep frying should be right up my alley. But because of the hot aerosolized fat that goes everywhere, the 7 or 8 bowls it usually takes and the cup or more of fat that’s required, it’s a real pain in the ass to fry at home.
Which is why I save deep frying for special occasions.
This cauliflower, the first true white cauli of the year, was absolutely a special occasion. Stripped of its wrapper leaves, it was two pounds of snowy perfection and without a doubt the nicest cauliflower I’d ever grown. (Note to self: from now on, overwintering is really the way to go with cauliflower. Stop trying to grow them as a short-season crop.)
After the requisite brassica goofball shots I got down to business converting one of the lowest-cal diet-friendly foods around into something that could give any classic pub appetizer a run for its junk-food money.
Ginger Breadcrumb Cauliflower with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Bang Bang Cauliflower at That’s So Michelle
Only Me Get Your Own Damn Spicy Cauliflower 2-4 as an appetizer
Ginger Breadcrumb Cauliflower
- 1 pound cauliflower, about 1 medium or ½ large cauliflower.
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup fine, fresh breadcrumbs from whole wheat bread
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 cups high-heat cooking fat depending on the shape and size of your frying skillet. You want at least 1 inch of fat in the skillet. I used ½ cup coconut oil and ½ cup lard. Go with what your ethics, pantry and cardiologist allow.
- Chives, for garnish
Sriracha Dipping Sauce
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Sriracha hot chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoons honey
For the Sriracha Dipping Sauce, combine all ingredients and set aside.
For the Ginger Breadcrumb Cauliflower, cut cauliflower into large bite-size florets.
Have cornstarch ready in a medium bowl. Lightly whisk egg whites in a medium bowl for 20-30 seconds, just to break up egg whites. Mix breadcrumbs with ginger and salt in a medium bowl.
Assemble a three-stage-breading station by setting up the three medium bowls in a row. From left to right they should contain the cornstarch, egg whites and breadcrumbs. If you are left handed, reverse the directionality.
Bread the cauliflower by lightly tossing a few florets at a time in the cornstarch. Tap off any excess and transfer the florets to the egg white. Coat thoroughly, shake off any excess egg white and transfer the florets to the breadcrumbs. Toss the florets in the breadcrumbs to uniformly coat. Set each floret aside on a sheetpan when it has been breaded.
While you are breading the florets, preheat your fat of choice in a skillet, deep frying pan or wok (my preferred frying vessel). You want the fat at 350-375 degrees.
When all the cauliflower is breaded, fry the florets in stages, a few pieces at a time, turning them if necessary to uniformly brown and crisp all sides. When the florets are golden and crispy and tender all the way through, remove to a sheetpan to drain while the remainder of the cauliflower is fried.
Serve cauliflower hot with the spicy dipping sauce to the side. Garnish with chopped chives.1
I’m not in the cauli fan club, but mmmmm, even I might eat that!
Dogs or Dollars says
Uh yummmmm…. It is not even 8am. I am longing for deep fried goodness. Or maybe Sriracha. Both. Definitely both.
This makes me mourn the loss of my tender the cauli to frost that much more. Although, I’m about to have purple broccoli out the ass. That softens the blow. Thanks for the tip on the overwintering. Good to hear from an experienced perspective.
Oh My! My husband would love this so much! I’ll have to give it a try. Also, thanks for the tip about doing cauliflower over the winter. Gotta try that too.
So please excuse the basic question that you probably have talked about before but how did you over winter the cauliflower without it rotting. Under a row cover? I am new to the blog so I don’t know if you’ve written about it before.
I always get annoyed with my row covers blowing off and I give up.
I didn’t have an issue with rotting this winter; it was pretty mild for us here and the cauli only fully headed up now, in mid-late-April when the weather is really mild. Assuming you are in a moderate-winter area like the Maritime NW, I think the trick is what variety you plant. Cloud or some similar spring/fall variety will not make it thru the winter I don’t think. This cauli was Galleon, with a 300 (!) day maturation time. It was planted out in June. I have another crop of OW Cauli that should come on in late May from a variety called Maystar, which has a 330 day maturity. Hope this helps. Bonus: it was really easy to grow. The only thing it needed was a ton of time in ground.
Thanks! I am in also in the Seattle area so that I why I was curious how you did it. So you didn’t have with rain on the cauliflower head? That is good to know since March was so wet. Maybe I will be disciplined enough to set aside some garden space and give this a try. We love cauliflower over here.
A well bred cauli should keep it’s wrapper leaves tightly closed around the head of the cauli until it is nearing maturity, like a little leaf umbrella. We grew ours without protection of any kind and they did great! I think it’s all about getting the right variety. I’d spend the $4 for the good hybrid seed from territorial for an overwintering cauliflower variety.
meg- grow and resist says
sweet jesus, i want that! I need to OW some cauliflower too. I never think of it. But that is an effing gorgeous cauliflower!
Val @ Mental Chew says
This sounds similar to “That’s So Michelle” ‘s Bang Bang Cauliflower. So So Good. It is what my 5 year old wants for his birthday dinner! She uses panko and coconut oil which lightens it up and adds wonderful flavor! http://www.thatssomichelle.com/2012/02/bang-bang-cauliflower.html
Yup, it’s adapted from that recipe, as noted. 🙂
And there it is! 🙂
I made a little extra sauce and the kids dipped raw veggies in it for snack the next day! It made me think I might be able to skip the frying part or use it alternately with roasting. That sauce is incredible. I was thinking about roasting some root veggies like fries and using that dipping sauce. Addictive stuff!!
Now that snow white cauliflower is aaaaaamazing and you did it a mighty honor by giving it to this recipe. My cauliflower has never happened, but you better believe my son wants us to plant some this year!!
I just pan fried the second half of the cauliflower and dipped it in that sauce…and then I cut some roast beef and dipped it in that sauce…and then I ran my finger around the jar that held the sauce…and then I finally stopped. 😉 Yeah, it’s a keeper, for sure!
Jessie : Improved says
Good lord this makes me want to eat a cauliflower. And I have never said that.
Crispy golden-brown deliciousness: the gateway to cauliflower love.
Ien in the Kootenays says
That looks gorgeous, congratulations! Cauliflower definitely belongs in the “prima donna” category. Between having the wrong climate most years and poor soil it is a challenge here East of the Cascades. This year I want to try it as a fall crop, possibly in the greenhouse. Timing is a challenge. They never made it last fall.
Thanks Ien! Yeah you guys have too much cold to grow it as and overwintering crop, right? Perhaps overwintering in the greenhouse?
Am I mistaken. Poor soil? I was under the impression that east of the Cascades has some of the best soil anywhere. Hence the huge agricultural industry. Are you referring specifically just to Cauliflower?
I have a cauliflower that needs eating in the fridge right now! Guess what’s going to happen to it… 😉
Yum, that looks delicious! I’ve got some cauliflower seedlings in for winter, I’ve never tried growing them before so it will be interesting to see how they go 🙂
Oh my goodness this is so good. It is so hard for me find Sriracha sauce in my country. So I may need to add chili powder along with cornstarch or breadcrumbs. What do you think about this Erica? I usually make this cauliflower fries with chili sauce. I love something hot and spicy, if you have any great idea to complement this dish I would love to know it 🙂
Hi Yui! I think you could get a similar flavor by making a spicy chili aioli with a bit more honey and vinegar. Sriracha is spicy, but it has a sweetness too so I think that’s the key. I also love curry mayo with cauliflower or just fry and hit with a squeeze of lime and a very light dusting of cayenne? Thanks for reading.
ok, so I made it.
Even with free speech and all, I it against my better judgment to type out the actual words that I said when I tasted this. And not for the fact that they were fryer-hot, either.
Therefore, I am speechless.
Suffice to say – readers, go make this. Just as it is written. Go. Do it. Now. I promise you will love it.
Yay!!! Thanks LadyBanksia, glad you enjoyed. I think I’m going to have this a a special occasion recipe because it’s a bit involved, but I’ll be high-heat roasting the cauliflower and making that dipping sauce for it all the time. I’m grooving on it too.
How much sun/light do your cauliflowers get? We’ve tried & failed to grow caulis, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, celery, but kales/chards/spinaches/arugulas/mustard greens are all abundantly successful in our “partial shade” vegetable garden. Would love more variety, but not sure we can do it!