Kick that boring veggie plate to the curb! Your next dinner deserves a tastier appetizer that doesn’t give veggies a bad rap, and that’s where this Fried Buffalo Cauliflower recipe comes in. The recipe may seem daunting, but trust us, it’s worth the effort. In the end, you’ll have a crunchy, meatless substitute for the spicy favorite — and we guarantee your guests won’t be able to stop talking about it.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 2/3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 free-range eggs, beaten
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 cups spicy cayenne pepper sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot sauce or Tabasco sauce
- 5 oz. cold butter, diced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, or other blue cheese
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 3 or 4 celery stalks, peeled and cut into long batons
- In a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower florets for five to six minutes, or until just tender. Drain in a colander, refresh under cold running water, then set aside to cool.
- Line up three mixing bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl, the beaten eggs in the second bowl, and the breadcrumbs in the third.
- Working in small batches, toss the cauliflower florets in the flour, then the egg, then the crumbs, placing them all on a tray or large plate. When all the florets have been covered in the mixture, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 20 to 30 minutes to help the crumb coating adhere to the cauliflower.
- In a saucepan over medium to low heat, warm the hot sauce. When it is nearly simmering, whisk in the cold cubes of butter until incorporated. Set aside.
- In a blender, blitz together the sour cream and blue cheese, then decant into a serving bowl.
- When ready to serve, fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit when tested with a cooking thermometer, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.
- Fry the crumbed cauliflower florets in small batches for 3 to 4 minutes each time, or until golden brown and crisp, taking care that they don’t clump together. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
- Once all the florets have been deep-fried, toss them in the buttery hot sauce and serve immediately, with the celery sticks and blue cheese sour cream sauce.
This recipe was originally written by James Wirth and appears in his cookbook, This Could Get Messy: A guide to Eating. To Drinking. To Doing Both at the Same Time ($12.99, Amazon).
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