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Mucho Gusto

Sofia’s Fried Cauliflower

This is the twenty-sixth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: cauliflower, tahini, lemon, parsley

Earlier this year, my dad and I ordered this amazing fried cauliflower at Farmstead Table in Newton, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  Fast forward four months, and I’m deep frying cauliflower at home in an attempt to recreate it.  Perfect as a side dish, this crispy cauliflower gets a bright boost from its tahini lemon dressing and parsley.  

2 heads of cauliflower

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 bulb of garlic

⅓ cup tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp lemon zest

½ tsp red chili flakes

½ cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Oil for frying 

Salt and pepper

Break your cauliflower into medium-sized florets, think 1-2 bites each.  Boil the cauliflower for 3 minutes in salted water, drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  You want the cauliflower to be slightly tender but still crunchy.  Spread the blanched florets onto a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel, and allow them to dry for 1-2 hours.  Water left on the cauliflower will cause the oil to spatter when you go to fry, so don’t skimp on drying time.

While you wait for the cauliflower, roast your garlic.  Cut off the top of the bulb to expose each clove.  Give the bulb a generous pour of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Wrap in tinfoil and roast on a baking sheet for 40 minutes at 400°.  Squeeze the cloves out of the bulb and set aside.  

Heat your oil (I used 2 quarts of canola) over high heat in a deep pot or dutch oven.  Stick a kitchen thermometer into your pot to regulate the oil temperature as you fry.  When the thermometer hits 340-350°, use a spider or slotted spoon to lower your first round of cauliflower into the oil.  Be sure to leave room for each floret to rise to the top.  Working in four or five shifts, fry the florets for 2-5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.  Immediately place your fried cauliflower on baking sheets lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

While your cauliflower is still hot, make the lemon tahini.  In a bowl, smash the roasted garlic with the back of a spoon.  Add in the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, and red chili flakes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the cauliflower to a medium bowl, and drizzle in the tahini sauce, tossing to lightly cover each floret.  Throw your parsley into the mix and toss once more to combine throughout.  Serve immediately.

**If you’re not up for deep-frying, this recipe also works beautifully with roasted cauliflower.  It’s less crispy, less time intensive, equally delicious.

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