Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crispy Cheesy Cauliflower Fritters

Cheesy, crispy, salty puffs of pure heaven, Cauliflower Fritters are so easy to make and divine to devour. Delicious on their own as an appetizer or served as an elegant garnish on creamy Cauliflower Soup, these magnificent little morsels are inspired by an old English classic — Cauliflower Cheese. Simple, comforting and unbelievably delicious, Cauliflower Fritters are inexpensive to make and can also be prepared in a little more than half an hour.  

Cauliflower fritters and chives on Cauliflower Soup

Simply break a cauliflower into small florets and steam until tender. Then mix with two eggs, a little flour, some lemon juice, a few spices, fresh garlic and a handful of flavourful Gruyère cheese. Chilling the mixture for about 30 minutes helps firm up the batter, ensuring that the fritters hold their shape as they're flash fried in a shallow bath of hot vegetable oil, until they become crisp and golden brown. Sprinkled with a dash of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a garnish of fresh watercress, these Cheesy Cauliflower Fritters are quite simply, 'bloody mah-velous!'

Crispy Cheesy Cauliflower Fritters
Makes 12-16

1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 oz all purpose flour
2 large eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch chili powder
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
4 cups canola or vegetable oil
Maldon or Kosher salt

1 bunch watercress and lemon wedges, for garnish

Steam the cauliflower florets over a pot of boiling water and cook until fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, lemon juice, eggs and spices. Once cooked, roughly chop the cauliflower into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Add the grated cheese and mix together. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes, so that it cools sufficiently to hold its shape while frying.

When you're ready to cook the fritters, fill a saucepan 1/3 full with canola oil and heat to 350°F. To cook the fritters, use 2 spoons to shape the cauliflower mixture into egg-shaped fritters and drop into the hot oil. Fry for about 4-5 minutes until the fritters are golden brown, turning as necessary to get even colouring. Once done, remove the fritters from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towel. Then place the fritters on a warmed serving platter, season with Maldon salt and serve immediately with a garnish of baby watercress and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

COOK'S NOTE: These fritters make an excellent garnish with creamy Cauliflower Soup. Simple prepare the soup ahead of time, and make the fritters just before serving. Set a few fritters in the centre of each soup bowl and garnish with fresh chives, for an elegant and delicious soup course.