This dish of deep fried cauliflower is from Spain. The cauliflower is dusted in chickpea flour (gram flour) and deep fried until crisp. Then, like the old fashioned beach-made fish and chips, sprinkled with plenty of salt and vinegar. In a modern day twist, capers are added. It makes a great snack, mezze dish, entree (starter) or side dish.
There are a range of traditional dishes that deep fry cauliflower. Think of Cauliflower Pakora, for example. Even Ottolenghi makes a salad or side dish of deep fried cauli with a tahini sauce. There’s Southern Fried Cauliflower, Fried Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan Fried Cauliflower, Cauliflower Tempura, and many more such recipes. There is a simple reason for so many dishes. It tastes very very good. This recipe will knock your socks off.
Crispy Cauliflower with Capers
0.5 cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 Tblpns chickpea flour
1 tspn smoky paprika
2 tspn fresh lemon juice or wine vinegar
1 Tblspn capers
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
oil for deep frying
Simmer or steam the cauliflower in boiling salted water for a few minutes, so that it is just tender but retains its bite. Drain well. (Save the water, see below for notes.)
Mix the cauliflower pieces with the chickpea flour and paprika until each piece is well coated. Sprinkle over a little more flour if needed.
Heat the oil in a stable wok or heavy pan, and fry the cauliflower in batches until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper towel.
Place the cauliflower on a serving platter. Dot with the capers and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Squeeze over some lemon juice or vinegar and serve immediately.
recipe notes and alternatives
The smoky paprika is a delight with this dish, but ordinary paprika, chilli powder (adjust for heat levels) or the delightful Kashmiri Chilli Powder can be used. The Kashmiri Chilli Powder will give to the dish some chilli heat without overwhelming the dish, and a gorgeous colour.
For extra deliciousness, rinse and dry your capers well, and deep fry them for 30 – 45 seconds.
If using as a side dish or mezze, place lemon slices on the side, and sprinkle with some chopped parsley.
A caper mayonnaise is great to dip the cauliflower into.
Save the cauliflower cooking water to use when cooking the rest of the cauliflower. Make soup, or cook pasta in it and make a cauliflower sauce. Or risotto. Or just use it in any dish that needs some liquid, for extra flavour. #nowaste