I was so looking forward to making this month's Sourdough Surprise because it gave me the push I needed to do a recipe I've been wanting to do since forever- my mom's batter fried cauliflower. They were succulent, crispy and all together irresistible! I remember thinking the first time I tried them that vegetables weren't so bad after all.
I decided to look in the cherished, little recipe box that I inherited from her to see if maybe there wasn't something I could go by to re-create her fried cauliflower awesomeness. I knew it was a long shot.
The first time I looked in the box, shortly after it came into my possession, I was a little surprised, confused and flattered. Surprised, because while there were some of her recipes in there, by far the bulk of the index cards, handwritten papers and newspaper clippings were for other people's recipes. Confused, because now were was I going to find her recipes? And flattered, because some of the recipes in the box were mine!
I went looking again just recently, really hoping against hope that the fried cauliflower recipe was in there, but to no avail. I did find three different recipes for Impossible Pumpkin Pie, something I never remember her making, but not one recipe for cauliflower anything! Although Uncle Danny's Cheesecake Pie, Antoinette's Zucchini Fritters, Mary's Coconut Pie, Rosie's Bean Soup and Mildred's Magic Cookie Bars all sound like things you might be seeing in this spot soon!
In conclusion, I humbly offer you this tempura-style recipe which is equal parts nostalgia, experience and every other on-line recipe for batter fried cauliflower, with a healthy dose of that good, old fashioned sourdough tang. I must say the addition of the starter really puts this fried cauliflower ahead of the pack. I had fully intended to have a sensible salad for lunch but once these bad boys left the fry pot they went right in my mouth with a short detour through the dipping sauce. I can honestly say Mom would have loved the results, and I'm sure this recipe is one for the box!
sourdough batter fried cauliflower
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 cup sourdough starter
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg white
1/2 cup AP flour
3 cups oil for frying
spicy peanut dipping sauce (make first, recipe follows)
Cut cauliflower into 25-30 two-bite sized pieces. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then rinse in cold water until cool. Blot dry on paper towels.
Heat oil to 370 degrees. Dredge cauliflower pieces in flour and shake off excess. In a large bowl combine starter, salt, pepper and paprika. Whip egg white to stiff peaks. Whisk baking soda into starter and fold in egg white.
Working in batches, drop a few pieces of cauliflower at a time into batter and lower carefully into oil. Fry until golden, remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer and transfer to paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, if desired. Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower. Serve immediately with a side of spicy peanut dipping sauce.
spicy peanut dipping sauce
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon low sodium soy salt
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small pot and whisk together over low heat until creamy.