FRONT BURNER: Cauliflower love affair gets fried and cheesy

Cauliflower and Cheese Patties
Photo by Kelly Brant
Cauliflower and Cheese Patties Photo by Kelly Brant

Cauliflower has been having a moment for a few years now. It was named vegetable of the year in 2017 and has since become a commonplace substitute for starchy carbohydrates — even masquerading as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and rice.

And while I'm usually not one to jump on the food trend bandwagon, I welcomed cauliflower's darling status.

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables.

Regular, longtime readers may recall I professed my reaffirmed love of cauliflower back in 2012 when I wrote:

"We don't remember when cauliflower was exiled to the vegetable tray. And we didn't notice when cauliflower shook off its crudite reputation and became trendy. But we remember exactly when we fell in love with this cruciferous vegetable all over again."

In that story, I made roasted cauliflower, cauliflower fritters, cauliflower gratin and even a cauliflower-crusted pizza.

More recently I've written about five ways to make cauliflower soup, cauliflower waffles and even cauliflower "steaks."

Most recently, I came across a new way to enjoy it.

Cauliflower and Cheese Patties

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

2 eggs

1 green onion, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

3 to 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs, finely crushed crackers, oats or chickpea flour

1 heaping cup shredded cheese such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, gruyere or gouda

Salt and ground black pepper

Desired seasonings such as crushed red pepper, garlic powder and/or ground coriander, optional

Vegetable oil, for frying

Place cauliflower florets and ½ cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on 100% power until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water.

Using a fork or food mill, mash florets until finely minced, but not smooth. Stir in the eggs, green onion, breadcrumbs and cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings. Mix well.

Using your hands, divide and shape mixture into small (½-inch thick) patties. Let patties rest for about 5 minutes.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil — just enough to generously coat the bottom — in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry patties for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown, replenishing oil as needed. Drain patties on a wire rack or paper towels. Serve hot.

Makes about 18 (2-inch) patties, depending on size of cauliflower.

Recipe adapted from Cauliflower: Over 70 Exciting Ways to Roast, Rice, and Fry One of the World's Healthiest Vegetables by Oz Telem

Food on 10/16/2019

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