Recipe of the week: Cauliflower heart…

Cauliflower hearts with cauliflower and truffle purée and cauliflower and almond fritters

Serves 4
For the cauliflower hearts
1 very large cauliflower or 2 medium cauliflowers
Rapeseed oil, for frying

For the purées
1 x quantity of kale purée (see below)
400g cauliflower florets (reserved from the hearts)
40ml extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
White truffle oil

For the fritter filling
25 blanched almonds
115g cauliflower offcuts from the cauliflower hearts (see above)
20ml rapeseed oil
½tsp fenugreek seeds
½tsp cumin seeds
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
200ml water
¼tsp agar powder
1.25g iota carrageenan powder (or omit and use 2g of agar powder)
Sea salt

For the batter
50g gram flour, plus extra to coat
40g potato flour
0.3g xanthan gum
1tsp caster sugar
¼tsp quick yeast
Scant ¼tsp sea salt, finely ground
150ml water at room temperature
Vegetable oil, for deep-fat frying

To serve
Pickled cauliflower (see below)
Truffle oil
Coriander or micro coriander leaves

For the pickled cauliflower
Makes a 250ml jar
30g cauliflower florets, about 1cm long
50g caster sugar
150ml white wine vinegar
150ml water
1tsp sea salt

Put the cauliflower in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the rest of the ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, then carefully pour over the florets to cover. Leave for at least one hour before using. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for two weeks.

For the kale purée
Makes 4 portions
100g kale, stems removed
4tsp extra virgin olive oil
25ml-75ml water
Sea salt

Blanch the kale and then shock in ice-cold water. Remove from the water and squeeze out any liquid.

Chop the kale roughly, then put in a blender with the olive oil and a little water, starting with 25ml. Blend to a very smooth purée, adding a little more water if needed.

Pass through a sieve and season with salt to taste. This will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

To make the fritter filling, soak the almonds in advance. Place the almonds in a small bowl and cover with water by at least 2cm. Leave for 12 hours, then drain.

Prepare the pickled cauliflower and the kale purée. Cut the stalk and top from the cauliflower, then cut across the cauliflower in half and then cut each half in half again to give four discs, each 1cm-1.5cm thick.

Using a 7.5cm round cookie cutter, carefully cut out the centre of the cauliflower discs. Reserve the florets and offcuts for the purée and fritters.

Bring two litres of water and 30g of salt to the boil in a large saucepan. Cook the cauliflower hearts for 4-5 minutes until soft but still al dente then shock in ice-cold water. Transfer to the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C. Toss the cauliflower florets for the purée in the olive oil and a little salt. Place in a baking tin and roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden in colour.

Remove from the oven. Weigh the roasted cauliflower and add 15% of the weight in truffle oil (15ml of oil for every 100g of cauliflower). Weigh again and calculate 50% of the weight and measure this in water. Add the cauliflower, truffle oil and water to a blender and blend until very smooth, adding a little more water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then chill in the fridge.

Prepare the fritters. Place eight small, cylindrical moulds on a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray. Chop the cauliflower offcuts into 1cm chunks.

Put the rapeseed oil and fenugreek seeds into a frying pan and fry gently until they begin to darken but not burn. Add the cumin seeds and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add the cauliflower, almonds and measured water and turn down the heat. Stew gently for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and the water has evaporated.

Stir in the agar and iota powders. Bring to the boil, then transfer to a blender. Blend until very smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a jug. Taste and season well with salt (if the fenugreek tastes bitter, then add more salt). Pour it quickly into the prepared moulds. Leave for 30 minutes, then transfer to the fridge and leave for two hours.

About an hour before serving, make the batter. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add the water and whisk to form a batter. Leave somewhere warm for an hour.

Take the roasted cauliflower purée and the kale purée out of the fridge one hour before needed to come to room temperature. Take the pickled cauliflower out of the fridge and drain away all the liquid. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan)/ 180°C. Line a small baking tray with baking parchment. Prepare your deep-fat fryer.

Heat a little rapeseed oil in the bottom of a large frying pan. Add the cauliflower hearts and fry on a high heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan, put onto the prepared tray and keep warm in the oven.

The cauliflower and almond fritters will only keep for four minutes when cooked, so only do the following once everything else is ready. Remove the fritters from the moulds. Whisk the batter with a fork to knock the bubbles out of it. Toss the fritters in gram flour to coat, then place into the batter mix to coat. Using a fork, lower each fritter into the hot oil.

Shake the pan gently to prevent it sticking to the bottom and repeat with each fritter, taking care not to let them stick to each other (you may need to do this in batches). When they are golden brown, remove and drain on kitchen towel.

To serve, drizzle a spoonful of the kale purée around the edge of each plate. Put a spoonful of roasted cauliflower and truffle purée in the centre of each plate and drag it with the back of a spoon.

Place the cauliflower heart and cauliflower almond fritter on top of the purée. Drizzle a little truffle oil over the top and then add a few coriander leaves. Scatter eight pieces of pickled cauliflower around and serve it all together while still warm.

  • Recipe taken from Plants Taste Better by Richard Buckley

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Post Author: MNS Master

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