Storified by Arya McLean· Mon, Apr 01 2013 17:38:46
Instead of the usual buttered beans or French fries as side dish for fish or meat, make something new and exciting like this delectable recipe for deep fried cauliflower. Fried until golden brown, soft and tender cauliflower has a bit of crunch and makes a sensational bite perfect side dish in cauliflower season. It tastes a bit like mushrooms that your kids will adore. In this recipe, which is designed for the super busy lifestyle, the cauliflower is first cooked and softened in the microwave with two tablespoons water to steam before it is coated with batter and fried.
If you don’t have a microwave or if you prefer not to cook with a microwave, you can steam the cauliflower instead. Steaming or blanching is better than boiling because boiling causes the vegetable to lose its flavor and nutrients and also ruins the delicate texture. To steam the cauliflower, fill a pot with water about an inch or two high and bring to a boil over a stove. Arrange the florets in a steamer basket (and if you don’t have one you can use a metal colander or sieve), and place this over the pot making sure that the bottom of the basket does not touch the water. Cover and steam for about five minutes. It’s best to cook the cauliflower al dente so it has a bit of crunch, and anyway you’ll be cooking it twice, the second time in the frying pan so you want to take that into account.
If you want crunchy cauliflower with a crispy outer coating just blanche it instead of steaming or microwaving. To do this, you will also need a pot of boiling water, about half full. Simply dip the cauliflower, cut into florets, into the boiling water, count for about thirty seconds to a minute then take it out. Immediately place the cauliflower in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Pat it dry with paper towels.
2. While cauliflower is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan or deep fryer, enough to cover the cauliflower pieces.