These tasty patties, from the Sephardic cuisine, are a perfect vegetarian snack or an appetizer, served with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
When cooked in tomato sauce and served with couscous or rice, they also make an excellent vegetarian main dish.
This is a dish where “less is more” is once again proven right. By mashing the cauliflower not too fine, adding the minimal amount of flour and breadcrumbs, and using spices sparingly, the wonderful flavor of the cauliflower stays dominant even after frying the patties and cooking them in tomato sauce.
If you’re a cauliflower fan, I’m sure you’ll love them.
A few notes:
* While most recipes call for cooking the cauliflower florets in boiling water and straining it, I prefer to quickly steam the cauliflower with a small amount of water, in order to keep as much of the nutrients and flavor in. The only downside to this method is the need to keep an eye on it while cooking, to make sure the cauliflower doesn’t burn when the water evaporates, but it’s really worth it.
* The patties keep, in an aright container in the fridge, for 2-3 days. To reheat and keep them crisp, it is best to use a toaster oven and not a microwave.
* To cook the patties in tomato sauce, make sure they are cold before adding them to the sauce, so that they will not break apart when cooking. Use homemade (recipe HERE) or good quality store bought sauce.
Makes: about 25 patties
Prep time: 20 minutes
Frying time: 15 minutes
1 medium size cauliflower head
3 L eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup flour
Oil for frying
Homemade or good quality store bought tomato sauce (optional)
1. With a sharp knife, remove the cauliflower core and separate into florets. Wash and place in a large pot, in one layer. Add 1/2 cup water, cover the pot and cook/steam over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, until the water evaporates and the is cauliflower is cooked. Cool to room temperature and mash roughly with a potato masher.
2. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix well, trying not to mash the cauliflower too much. Add the flour and breadcrumbs and mix briefly. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium. Spoon heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the oil, in one layer and a bit apart. Flatten the mixture with the back of a spoon. Fry until golden on both sides. Transfer to a workspace layered with paper towels.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with a slice of lemon.
5. To cook in tomato sauce: make sure the patties are cold, so they will not break apart upon cooking. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add as many patties as you’re about to serve. Cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until heated through, and serve immediately.