This is a recipe I adapted from my daughter's Nonna Angela Favale who showed me how to make these years ago. I made some simple adjustments and this has been and will remain a favorite side dish for my famiglia for years to come. —cucina di mammina
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Cucina di mammina is an artist, food blogger, and wine lover living in Ft. Myers, Florida.
WHAT: A virtuous, savory pancake studded with shallots and cauliflower.
HOW: Boil your cauliflower; saute your shallots. Mix it all into a batter with flour, eggs, parsley, and cheese, shape into cakes, and pan-fry them.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love how these little cakes taste like latkes -- but they're more savory, more January-appropriate. We see these as an hors d'oeuvre, or as a light lunch with a salad, or topped with a fried egg for breakfast. —The Editors
about 4 to 6
large cauliflower (washed & trimmed into bite size pieces)
shallots, peeled and chopped
small garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
large organic eggs
Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
grated Romano cheese
shredded low moisture mozzarella
(or more if needed) unbleached baking flour
Place a large stockpot filled with water to boil on the stove top. Once it comes to a full boil, add the prepared cauliflower and cook until tender, but not too mushy. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside to cool.
Saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant; do not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Break the cooked cauliflower pieces down into very small pieces using your hands or a knife. The cauliflower needs to be solid enough to taste and create texture, but not so large as to not allow the patties to cook properly.
Add the eggs, cooked shallots and garlic to the bowl of cauliflower and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this well and add some flour and milk to begin creating a batter-like consistency (start with 1/4 cup of each and add more as needed; adjust to get the desired consistency.)
Add the grated cheese, shredded mozzarella and chopped fresh parsley to the mix and blend well until combined. Again, test the thickness here and adjust accordingly adding flour and milk until you are satisfied.
NOTE: The mixture for these patties is a bit of trial and error as it needs to resemble a very thick pancake batter without being too dry or worse, too thin and runny.
Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and add drizzle of the light olive oil and test the mixture by spooning a small pattie into the skillet and watch how it cooks and holds its shape.
Use your spatula to press and form the pattie in the skillet as it cooks to make sure it maintains shape and cooks through.
Adjust your heat and resist the urge to flip too soon, allow the pattie to cook until light golden brown (about 3-4 minutes each side depending on your stove) before you flip them.
Continue forming and cooking the patties, adding more light olive oil as you go. Remove the cooked patties to a large flat platter to cool (do not overlap them until cooled.) Taste the first patties and adjust your salt and pepper seasoning for the remaining batter, if needed.
I love to serve these after letting them cool as they are much more flavorful at room temperature.
These are the ideal hostess side dish (plan to make these during the upcoming holidays) that you can make ahead.
Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator and simply deliver them to your host and let them come back to room temperature before serving.