That’s the way the ‘cauli’ crumbles30

Posted on July 26, 2008 by ChristieGluten Free, Sides, Snacks & Starters, Vegetarian

[Polenta crumbed cauliflower with parsley dressing]

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 eggs
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.

  • Y

    I love cauliflower already, so I might be biased, but that looks so delicious!

  • OMG this looks so fabulous…what a fabulous idea this is! You’ve really done it this time.

  • Oh wow, what a tremendous way to enjoy cauliflower. This might change the kids’ minds about cauliflower. Thanks for sharing.

  • I love this idea. I would have never thought of it myself. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Oh, these look wonderful! I love cauliflower in any form, and I too roll my eyes at the naysayers. Cauliflower plus polenta sounds perfect.

  • Y – Thank you very much. Hope you give it a try.

    Noble Pig – You’re very sweet! I am quite proud of this.

    JS – I hope your kids enjoy it!

    Madeline – Let me know how you go :)

    Marilyn – ‘Roll eyes’, that’s exactly what I meant! Hehe.

  • Jo

    These look absolutely scrumptious …. I luv the sound of the 2 combinations.

  • What a great way to cook cauliflower! Who could resist?

  • This is nibble food – I will nibble on it all day. Imagine a curry dip…mmmmmm

  • Kim

    Christy, this recipe would turn any cauliflower hater into a lover. How could anyone resist these!

  • I’m still on the chocolate biscuit thing in my mind but I’m sure I’ll appreciate this recipe in a little while…

  • Jo – Thanks! They do go really well together.

    Dragon – We couldn’t ;)

    Nina – A curry dip – great idea!

    Kim – Fingers crossed, that’s my plan!

    Tangobaby – Hehe :)

  • Christie… You should try battered cauliflower with a smooth parmo-polenta sauce!

    ps – I thought it was crumbed squid at first glance… ;-)

  • I really REALLY want to make this! The polenta crust is a genius idea. I agree, cauli is a wonderful and much underrated vegetable. You could add spices to the polenta too I guess.

  • Oh my God! I love cauliflower, and usually roast them, sometimes I throw them in w/ pasta, sausage and raisins & breadcrumbs, very Sicilian.
    I can’t wait to make these!
    Beautiful photos.
    Stacey Snacks

  • Jmez – it does looked like crumbed squid – yum!

    Helen – mmm a bit of ground cumin and coriander would be lovely in the polenta mix. Good idea!

    Stacey – wow, great combo. Sausage and raisins, delicious.

  • LOVE this! It’s almost like doing a baked cauliflower with a breadcrumb crust but you’re kicking it up like 50,000 notches by 1) frying them whole and 2) using polenta!

    beautiful. i want to dip these in bread sauce!

  • cakebrain

    I love cauliflower and this just makes my day finding a dish that looks so scrumptious! I’m always looking for cool ways to make it! thanks for the inspiration!

  • We Are Never Full – I love whole baked cauliflower too! I think I’ll try it with the polenta, that would be yum.

    Cakebrain – You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

  • What a great way to cook cauliflower – I will be stealing this recipe for sure.

  • I love cauliflower and I love deep fried things, so this sounds right up my alley!

  • I loathe cauliflower..stinky, nasty dirty feet smelling vegetable that it is.

    I find myself *needing* to make this.

    Darn you Christie…this isn’t fair ;)

  • Rachel – Please do!

    Marc – Me too, this is especially good.

    Colleen – Grrreat! I hope I can convert you. Cauliflower cooked correctly is a real joy.

  • I love cauliflower and I’m always looking for a new recipe. This one looks great! Thanks

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  • Clever way to prepare cauliflower! The corn of the polenta will give it a very nice flavor.

  • This is definitely something I’d like to eat. The BIG question is who will cook it?

  • Oh dear, I love cauliflower at the best of times but giving it this treatment makes it irresistible!

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