There’s something incredibly comforting and a little bit naughty about dipping crispy deep-fried cauliflower florets into rich salty blue cheese & buttery chilli sauces. Apart from the cauliflower, there really is nothing healthy about this recipe; but the occasional indulgence is absolutely fine in my book! And at this time of year, when the clocks have just gone back, it feels just right!
Of course, if you want a less calorific and simpler version of this recipe, rather than frying, you could rub the florets in a little olive oil and roast in a hot oven until browning at the edges.
Serves 4 as a side or starter
- 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 50g panko breadcrumbs
- 50g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the blue cheese sauce
- 200g Danish blue
- 100g mayonnaise
- 100g soured cream
- 1 tbsp milk
- Squeeze of lemon juice
For the chilli sauce
- 5 tbsp Franks hot sauce (or alternative hot chilli sauce)
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
- 25g butter
To make the cheese sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together with a fork until well combined but with a few lumps of cheese remaining.
Next, add the flour and panko breadcrumbs to two separate wide bowls. Crack the eggs into a third bowl and beat them well. Toss the cauliflower florets in the flour, shaking off any excess. Next add a few of the floured florets to the beaten egg bowl and, using a fork, turn them over a few times to ensure well covered in egg. Then transfer them into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and toss them around until covered. Repeat this process with the rest of the florets.
Fill a wide deep pan (or use a deep fryer if you have one) with enough vegetable oil to come to about 3 inches deep. Ensure the oil does not come over halfway up the pan. Heat the oil until it reaches 180°C (if you don’t have a thermometer, drop a piece of white bread in the oil. It should take around 45-60 seconds to turn brown).
Whilst the oil is heating, add the chilli sauce and apricot to a small saucepan. Cook over a moderate heat until the jam dissolves and the sauce has thickened. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the butter. Keep to one side.
Once the oil is up to temperature, drop the florets carefully into the oil. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a tray lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. If you do this in two batches, ensure the oil has returned to the correct temperature before frying the second batch.
Serve the fried florets alongside the two sauces.