I hear there's a big football game or something coming soon? The Brady-Belichick Invitational?
This year, I've got friends rooting for both sides, so it feels right to offer them something to eat while they watch.
You know hot chicken is a trend that is about to die when it's made its way from Nashville to the West Coast and to every KFC in between. But a trend is not a reason to eat food, not if it is delicious, and so I'll happily continue regardless if hot chicken goes the way of the cupcake or poke.
But the great thing about the hot chicken method is that you can apply it to so many foods other than chicken! You could make hot shrimp, hot tofu, or here, hot cauliflower. Instead of battered and deep fried chicken we have battered and deep fried cauliflower, and everything else remains the same. Frying oil + spices = party in the mouth.
Just more of a vegetarian party!
Pros include making your veggie-loving friends happy and not worrying about undercooking any meat. I can get on board with that.
Hot Chicken-Style Cauliflower
Frying method adapted from Serious Eats
For the dredge and dip:
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tbs tabasco
- 1 cup water
- 1 whole head cauliflower, cut into florets
- oil, for frying
For the "Hot" sauce:
- 2 tbs frying oil
- 3/4 tbs cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- pickles, for serving
- Heat about 1-2 inches of oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or heavy pot. Combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add tabasco and water and whisk to a smooth batter.
- Add the caulflower florets to the batter and submerge, then lift out pieces and let excess drip. Then, lower into the hot oil. Repeat with remaining florets until pot is full but not overcrowded. You will probably have to fry in to batches. Fry about 6 minutes total, then remove and drain on paper towel lined baking sheets and season with more salt. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven while frying remaining cauliflower.
- In a large bowl, combine hot sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the fried cauliflower and gently toss with the sauce. Serve while hot, with pickles on the side.