Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. Here, it used two ways: a panko-crumbed cauliflower fillet, and second, it was combined with ricotta as a creamy topping. Your guests will ask, what is this?
The taste, texture, and mouthfeel of the crumbed and fried fillets of cauliflower were so satisfying. Crisp and nutty. The creamy ricotta cauliflower puree, including roast garlic, delivers a perfect accompaniment. It is not immediately obvious in either of these that the main ingredient in both is cauliflower.
Panko breadcrumbs are the perfect coating for these cauliflower fillets. Except, they can be a little too chunky. A finer crumb results in a more consistent crunchy surface on the cauliflower after frying. Hence, give the panko crumbs a quick blast in the blender to break them up a bit.
It takes some time to prepare the parsley oil. You certainly need to start that the day before to give the oil time to drip through the coffee filter. It is worth the wait, though, as the parsley oil is visually striking against the white cauliflower puree.
My recipes often use a lot of garlic. Garlic is used a lot in Vietnamese cooking, one of the reasons I love Vietnamese food so much. Raw garlic can dominate the other flavours in a dish. However, when roasted, the garlic becomes a sweet umami flavour enhancer. Did I mention that it is good for you?
Another roast garlic sauce recipe you should check out is this roast garlic sauce.
Panko cauliflower, ricotta cauliflower puree, parsley oil
Panko cauliflower and ricotta puree
- 2 medium heads cauliflower
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 1/2 cup cornflour
- 2 eggs lightly whisked
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 g butter
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 bunches of parsley
- 1 pot of boiling water
- 1 bowl of ice water
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil use a very good olive oil for this
- 1 or 2 coffee filters
Parsley oil (one day ahead)
- Blanch the parsley in boiling salted water for 15 seconds.
- Plunge the blanched parsley into an ice water to cool.
- Blend the blanched parsley and olive oil until smooth.
- Place a coffee filter(s) over a strainer and bowl. Strain the blended mixture overnight.
Ricotta cauliflower puree
- Prepare roasted garlic per these instructions.
- Trim the leaves and lower stalk from the cauliflowers.
- Cut the head lengthways, then cut a slab of cauliflower about 15 mm thick from each half. Repeat with the other cauliflower so you have 4 slabs.
- Reserve the slabs for the panko cauliflower.
- Chop up the remaining cauliflower into small pieces.
- Boil the cauliflower pieces until soft. About 15 minutes. Drain well.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the roasted head into a bowl.
- Add the boiled cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil, butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, to a blender and blend until smooth. A hand blender works too.
- Stir the ricotta into the blended cauliflower.
- Put the cornflour in one bowl.
- Put the whisked eggs in another bowl.
- Using a blender or spice grinder, blend the panko crumbs to make them finer.
- Put the blended panko crumbs, black pepper, and paprika in a third bowl.
- Dip each cauliflower slab in cornflour and shake off excess.
- Dip each cauliflower slab in in the whisked egg.
- Dip each cauliflower slab in the panko crumb mixture and shake off the excess.
- Bring the 2 Tbsp vegetable oil to a medium heat in a heavy pan or skillet.
- Fry the cauliflower slab until golden, then flip over, frying the other side until golden as well.
- Add more oil if necessary and do the same for the other cauliflower slabs.
- Lay a panko cauliflower slab on a plate.
- Spoon over the ricotta cauliflower and roast garlic topping.
- Drizzle with parsley oil.