Mardi Gras

Celebrate Fat Tuesday With This Vegan Po'Boy

Fat Tuesday: A time for frying, fried foods, and feasting on fried things in preparation for fasting. Um, did we mention the word "fried" yet? Thought so!

You can probably guess we're going to suggest frying something for dinner tonight. And you're right! These Fried Cauliflower Po'Boys with Olive “Remoulade" are completely untraditional—and that's okay: The crispy, fried cauliflower is dipped in cashew cream and coated in Creole-seasoned cornmeal.

Let's get frying.

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First thing's first—head to the grocery store to pick up these ingredients (organized by area of the market):

  • 2 to 3 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch florets
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced, plus additional lemon wedges
  • 3 hoagie rolls
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3/8 cup Niçoise (or kalamata) olives
  • 2 tablespoons pickled peppers

We're assuming you already have 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, 3 teaspoons Creole seasoning, 1 garlic clove (minced), salt, Louisiana hot sauce, vegetable oil, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/2 yellow cornmeal. If not, add these to your list, too!

About an hour before dinner, place the cashews in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. (The recipe recommends you soak the nuts overnight but the hot water will soften them up quickly, so they'll be blend-able in 30 minutes or or so—really!)

When the cashews are soft, drain them and transfer to a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until the cashews are finely ground. With the food processor running, drizzle in about 2 tablespoons water and the lemon juice, stopping to scrape down the sides. Add the mustard and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Creole seasoning. Process until smooth. Remove a little more than 1/3 cup of the cashew cream and set it aside in a small mixing bowl (you'll use this for the cauliflower later!).

As for the rest of the cashew cream, add the olives, pickled peppers, lemon zest, and garlic to the food processor. Pulse until the olives are chopped. Taste for salt and spiciness. Add salt and Louisiana hot sauce as need. Let the cashew remoulade sit at room temperature while you're frying the cauliflower.

Thirty minutes or so before dinner, slice the lettuce leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch strips and slice the tomatoes into six thin pieces. Cut the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, leaving them attached on one side (so don't slice all of the way through). Heat 2 inches of oil to 365 to 375° F in a large pot or Dutch oven.

Whisk 1/3 cup of water with the reserved cashew cream. You want it to be the consistency of coconut milk. If it's not, add a tablespoon or two of water. Season with several pinches of salt to taste. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, cornmeal, remaining Creole seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk to blend.

Dunk the cauliflower florets, a few at a time, into the cashew cream drench. Drain the excess, then transfer to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate to wait while you dunk and dredge your remaining florets.

Fry the cauliflower (in batches, if need), until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool briefly. Then, assemble your sandwiches: Spread both halves of the hoagie rolls with the remoulade (be generous!), place two tomato slices on each lower half, sprinkle with salt, and place a mound of lettuce on the upper half of each roll. Arrange eight pieces of fried cauliflower on each sandwich. Serve with lemon wedges and Louisiana hot sauce. You just fried something on a weeknight—and it was worth it.

See the full recipe here.

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