Cauliflower fritters with Tarator sauce

 

I know what you’re thinking! Cauliflower! How dull!

Well, trust me, this dish will completely change your mind about this admittedly unexciting vegetable. In fact, you will first try one, just for kicks, then another, then you will not allow anyone to get close to the plate! You will finish the entire cauliflower in one sitting!

The secret is that the cauliflower comes alive when it is gently sauteed in oil;  combine it with the tarator sauce  it becomes irresistible

Taratoris a multi-purpose sauce, used on falafel or shawarma sandwiches and with baked and fried fish.

The key to a good tarator is the right dosage of garlic and fresh lemon juice with tahini.

This dish is ideal for a party.

It can be prepared ahead of time. You can boil or steam the cauliflower up to 2 days ahead and let it sit in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.

It is served  at room temperature.

This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people as an appetizer or mezze.

INGREDIENTS

1 head of cauliflower, free of blemishes.

1 cup of pure olive oil (not extra virgin) or 4 cups of any vegetable oil, if deep-frying

2 lemons, juice squeezed to equal 1/2 cup

6 cloves of garlic, mashed  or 1 heaping teaspoon of toom

1/2 cup of tahini

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley (optional)

salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Using a sharp knife cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Heat some water in a pot and boil the cauliflower for a few minutes until tender.  Alternatively, another method is to steam the cauliflower whole. Drain the florets in a sieve, and let it sit for a while, up to 2 days, refrigerated and covered.
  • When you are ready to continue, heat some oil in a skillet till it reaches a temperature of 375F. Dry the cauliflower florets removing as much moisture as possible.  Brown the florets gently. Remove from the oil and drain on a dish covered with paper towels. Another method would be to roast the cauliflower in a 350F oven till tender, about 30 minutes. Make sure to grease the vegetable with some olive or other vegetable oil first. Brown it briefly under the broiler till it has brown specks throughout. Yet another method, and the one I use now because it is the fastest, is to heat 4 cups of canola oil in a deep-fryer to 375F, then drop the cauliflower in the basket in the hot oil for about 10 minutes, until it browns all over. Then remove the cauliflower and drains on paper towels or several thicknesses of paper bags. Set is on a serving platter and make the sauce.

To make the Tarator sauce:

  • In a blender, drop 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of tahineh and 1 teaspoon of mashed garlic (with a teaspoon of salt). Whirl the blender until the consistency is smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Place the cauliflower florets in a serving dish and the tarator sauce in the middle in a little dipping dish. Sprinkle the cauliflower with a pinch of sea or provide it at the table. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE: Any leftover tarator dressing can be used in the following ways: As a dressing for roasted beets or potatoes or boiled swiss chard. To make hummos or baba ghanooj. and as a salad dressing.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading your blog, and I think you write really well! It keeps me interested in reading more! Keep it up!

  2. Jean
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Joumana, it seems to be taking me much longer to get the cauliflower to turn brown, maybe as long as 30 minutes… This would preclude olive oil, but i’m not sure if the taste would be the same with vegetable oil. Any advice? How hot should the frying oil be?

  3. Joumana
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Jean
    Actually I fry the cauliflower in my fryer with some canola oil and it takes about 15 minutes at the most to get it brown. The oil is at 375F. Thanks so much for pointing it out and I am going to edit my last post to add further pointers.

  4. Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    This is lovely. I’m just waiting for the cauliflower to cool down to room temperatures now. :)

  5. Posted October 21, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Hi again.

    I hope you don’t mind if I publish this recipe (a shorter version) on my blog. I will link to this page and write a glowing recommendation of Taste of Beirut because your blog has opened up a new world for me, i.e. Lebanese cuisine. :)

  6. Joumana
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Mind? Murasaki you are going to make my day! :)

  7. Posted November 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    This recipe looks incredible! I’ve never made anything like it before, but I am always looking for new ways to prepare cauliflower. This looks like something my kids would love as well!
    Ashley @ Bowflex Series 7 Treadmill

  8. Lyn
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Making this tonight, we love cauliflower…..

  9. Posted January 23, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Lebanese food is just a great food. In Dubai, there are a lot of Lebanese. And that’s why i eat before a lot of this great food. Home Theatre Receivers

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