Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflowers are in season right now, and I've got a glut on my hands.  Each day I'm trying to come up with different ways to turn them into something delicious.  So far we've enjoyed cauliflower & cheese soup, whole roasted cauliflower, cauliflower au gratin, biryani rice, cauliflower 'rice', and as an ingredient in a couple of curries I've made.  By far one of my favourite ways to enjoy the humble cauliflower is in a fritter.  These fritters are so moreish and an absolute winner!  They are great as a snack or served as a side dish next to a nice roast dinner or corned beef.  The trick with this recipe is you've got to trust your instinct as there are no set measurements to the batter ingredients.  As long as it is a thick, pancake consistency before you add your steamed cauliflower, you will be on the right track.  As the steamed cauliflower is quite moist, you might find you'll need to add a couple more tablespoons of flour to thicken it to the right consistency before you start frying it.  As a rule, I make sure the final mixture looks like a thick batter that is not too runny, and not too thick either.

Plain flour
1 egg
Dried mixed herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Finely grated parmesan cheese
1 whole head cauliflower
Canola or vegetable oil (for shallow frying)

Wash and cut the cauliflower head into individual flowerets.  Trim and discard any of the thick white stalk, and place into the steamer once the water has begun to boil.

Steam the cauliflower until firm, but soft and mashable.  Set aside.

In the meantime, in a large glass bowl whisk your egg by hand and begin to add a couple of tablespoons of flour at a time, whisking as you go to prevent lumps.

Start to add a little water at a time to your flour and egg mixture, whisking by hand constantly to prevent lumps.  The consistency should be between runny and thick.  You might need to keep adding a few tablespoons of flour and water until you get a quantity that resembles a pancake mixture.

Add a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese to the mixture.  Mix in well then add freshly ground salt and black pepper and dried mixed herbs to taste.

Place the steamed cauliflower into the batter and using a fork, mash it and mix it thoroughly into the batter by hand.

NOTE: As the cauliflower is quite moist, you may have to add a couple more tablespoons of flour at this stage to thicken the batter up again.

In a large, heavy based frying pan, pour in enough canola or vegetable oil to cover the base of the pan, up to 2 cm full.  Heat the oil, keeping a close eye on it to prevent it overheating.

When the oil is hot enough, take a tablespoon of cauliflower batter and using another spoon, carefully place it into the hot oil.  Keep doing this until you have enough fritters to cover the base, but be careful not to overcrowd the pan as you need to be able to turn the fritters over easily without damaging them.

Cook the fritters on one side until thoroughly golden, then using a thin spatula, very carefully scrape underneath each fritter and turn them over to cook on the other side until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove the cooked fritters one at a time and place them on a large plate lined with absorbent paper (paper towels) to soak up any excess oil.

Serve hot as a snack or alongside your favourite meal as a tasty side dish.

These fritters can be refrigerated for up to two days.  They taste great cold too!


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