There are three kitchen tools I will always have: a good chefs knife, my flour grinder, and my high speed blender. Everything else I could do without (I’ve even learned my stand-mixer is a nice-to-have). With these three things, I can do pretty much anything I could ever want. You might balk at the flour grinder but once you start grinding your own flour- you won’t go back. And the blender? It’s booted my food processor off the counter.
This fried cauliflower is made because of the romesco sauce. If you’ve never tried this sauce before, I cannot recommend it enough. A few toasted nuts are combined with roasted red pepper, herbs, and spices to form a powerful sauce (and the reason for mentioning the blender!) You could also make the sauce in a mortar and pestle but I love the creaminess the blender lends.
Fried Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce and Quinoa
A perfect vegetarian fork-and-knife dinner with a tender fried cauliflower slice smothered with homemade romesco sauce.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup hazelnut pieces
- 1 large roasted red pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Rinse quinoa and place in a medium pot with broth, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until ready to serve.
- While the quinoa is cooking, remove the greens from the cauliflower and cut right in half. Slice a ½” thick slice of cauliflower from each half. Set aside remaining cauliflower for another use. Heat a skillet over medium-low. Add olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold both cauliflower slices, or work in batches. Add cauliflower slices to the heated oil and fry on each side until golden, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.
- In a small, dry skillet, add the almonds and hazelnut pieces over medium heat. Shaking the skillet often, lightly toast the nuts until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
- In a food processor or small blender, combine the ingredients for the romesco sauce, including the toasted nuts. Puree until the sauce is fairly well smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired
- Serve the fried cauliflower over quinoa and spoon romesco on top.
There is really nothing quite like slicing and frying cauliflower. I’ve made similar ‘steaks’ from celeriac and fennel before but the flavor of each is more pronounced. Broccoli would work in place of the cauliflower, I just find cutting the heads of broccoli to be a bit more of a pain.
Roast/Grill: I know not everyone reading this will want to fry the cauliflower. That’s fine- there are other ways! I like to lightly steam the cauliflower then grill in a pan. You could also roast the cauliflower until tender.
Grains/Salads: I like using quinoa because of the protein boost but you could use any grain you have on hand. Amaranth is also quick cooking/complete protein like quinoa.
Romesco: Switch up the romesco by using a green variation.
Occasionally at the market, cauliflower will be sold by the head instead of by the pound. I seek out the largest head I can find and can easily make about 3 meals from it. This cauliflower salad is a nice, light recipe but a few other options: