I’ve been wanting to try crumbing cauliflower with polenta for a long time. If you don’t like cauliflower, I think this dish may change your mind.
Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables and I cringe when I hear people say they’ll only eat it drowned in cheese sauce. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous combination, but there’s so many more possibilities.
It’s fabulous stir fried with chilli, bacon and pine nuts or lightly blanched and mixed with a herb vinaigrette. Italians have the right idea adding it to pasta and topping with bread crumbs and Indians mix it with potatoes, lentils and fragrant spices that the cauliflower soaks right up.
I first came across deep fried cauliflower at an Indian buffet and cinema called Govinda’s. It intrigued me and I wanted to experiment with adding an extra crunch. I decided on polenta to provide a delicious crispy contrast to the soft and subtle flavoured cauliflower. Polenta is also gluten free, so if you’re that way inclined, it’s a perfect alternative to bread crumbs.
The Bear and I ate this for lunch on a bed of salad leaves mixed with a few strips of salami and the parsley dressing. It was very satisfying.
Happy cooking, Christie
Polenta crumbed cauliflower with parsley dressing
serves 4 as a side dish (or starter)
sunflower oil for shallow frying
1 cup fine grain polenta
2 cups cauliflower, broken into florets (about 1/2 medium cauliflower)
For the dressing
1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Heat the sunflower oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Test to see if it’s hot enough by adding a cube of bread. If it browns in 20 seconds, it’s ready. Meanwhile…
Place the polenta onto a large plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and set aside. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat.
Dip the cauliflower florets one at a time into the egg and then the polenta to coat completely. Set aside on a clean plate. Repeat with all the cauliflower.
Shallow fry all the pieces and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm while you make the dressing.
Pound the parsley in a mortar and pestle until it’s a thick paste. Add the vinegar, oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the cauliflower.