I don’t care for cauliflower, really.
It’s a weird little vegetable, isn’t it? Because it looks like a brain. Also, it’s largely tasteless. I think a lot of fruits and vegetables should come with tags about who will enjoy them. For instance – strawberries: hopeless romantics. Acai: people who love LA. Tomatoes: people who enjoy Julia Child.
Cauliflower: lobotomy patients.
Really. There is almost no redeeming quality.
But! I was buying some broccoli from the corner market the other day (there is a place in midtown Manhattan that calls itself “the corner market” as though we were in 19th century Wales) which has a wildly poor selection of seemingly everything but Monster beverages. The only broccoli I could find came in a pack that was half chopped broccoli, half cauliflower. I asked the owner for only broccoli. He said that was an impossibility. I said “I will make this devilish bargain with you.” I don’t think he found that comical, but, regardless, I brought their broccoli cauliflower mix. I made a lovely broccoli parmesan. But this meant I still had a ton of leftover cauliflower, which some call “Satan’s vegetable.”
I needed to find a way to make it interesting.
The only way I’ve ever actually enjoyed cauliflower was once, years ago, when I had it at a tapas place and it was spicy and lightly fried. So I googled “spanish cauliflower” assuming it would not be an actual thing, and I would just toss the cauliflower in the trash, blithely ignoring the starving children in Africa.
Spanish Style Cauliflower is an actual thing! Here! It’s a thing! It’s called “Coliflor Rebozada.”
And it’s not actually that hard to make. The basic recipe states that you’ll need:
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 large eggs
- olive oil for frying
- salt to taste
- Spanish paprika
- 1/2 cup flour (optional)
All of which you might have lying around in your fridge. I did! Well, most of it.
First of all, you steam the cauliflower in water for 10 minutes. I definitely had water, and steaming just involves dropping things in about an inch or two of water in a pot on the stove. Like so:
Then cover them with the lid. For 10 minutes.
After that, you’re supposed to take them out – which I did by sort of mostly covering the top with the lid and draining the water out, and then dumping the cauliflower on a piece of paper towel – and dip them in an egg mixture and then flower.
First of all, you take two eggs, and beat them together in a bowl. Then you mix in a teaspoon of Spanish Paprika, whatever that is.
I did not have paprika, because I do not run a spice factory. I did, however, have a packet of Mexican taco mix which I received in a very weird, possibly racist gift bag. I decided to use it because Mexico and Spain, much like England and America, have a special relationship. I think. I decided to use it because it felt right.
I used that Old El Paso mix because, as a cook, you are free to make choices. Bold. zesty choices.
It actually worked out great. I don’t want to say “use the taco mix you’ve got lying around” because that doesn’t feel like something Julia Child would say, but it worked really well and gave it a nice amount of spice without being tongue-burningly spicy.
In any event, I mixed a teaspoon in with my egg mix. You’ll also need about half a cup of flour in a separate bowl. Like so:
However, before you do anything, take out a deep frying pan and put it on the stove. Mix in about an inch worth of olive oil. Turn on the heat. Like so:
Don’t worry! It will take a minute or two for the oil to heat up. I mean, do not, like, leave it on your stove and exit the house, but know that you have a time window to work with.
Pick up the cauliflower – either use your hands or stab it with a fork – and dip it in the egg/taco mix/papria/whatever mixture. Then dip it in the flour mixture. Then toss it into the hot oil. Do this with all of the pieces. It won’t really take more than a minute or two. Leave them in the frying pan turning them over as you go for about 5-7 minutes. They will come out looking like this:
And it is delicious. You’ll want to season it with a little additional salt and pepper, but really, it taste the way cauliflower would taste naturally if cauliflower didn’t suck.
You should try it. Also, what is paprika? Is it fun? Should I buy some? More importantly, how am I going to preserve my packet of Old El Paso taco mix? I put it in a sealed glad-lock bag, but I’m not sure if that’s enough.