This sandwich was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend over coffee. She was telling me about a visit to the recently opened Victoria Bar, and happened to mention the vegan Cauliflower Po'Boy. I couldn't let go of the idea, so realized I had to have one. Unfortunately their vegan po'boy is a “daily inspiration” so I decided to come up with a version on my own. —hardlikearmour
1 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 ½ teaspoons (½ tablespoon) Creole seasoning
3/8 cup niçoise (or kalamata) olives
2 tablespoons pickled peppers
zest from 1 large lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Louisiana hot sauce
Fried Cauliflower Po'Boys
2-3 large lettuce leaves (leaf or iceberg) cleaned and dried
1 large beefsteak tomato
3 hoagie rolls
24 1 ½- to 2-inch cauliflower florets (about ½ large head cauliflower)
cashew cream reserved from making remoulade
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
¾ teaspoon Creole seasoning
lemon wedges and/or Louisiana hot sauce to serve
In This Recipe
Place cashews in a bowl, and cover with water. Soak overnight.
Drain the water and transfer the cashews to a food processor or high speed blender. Pulse until the cashews finely ground. With the food processor running, drizzle in the water and lemon juice, stopping to scrape the sides once or twice. Add the mustard and Creole seasoning. Process until smooth. Remove 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon and set it aside in a small mixing bowl (you'll be using it to make a drench for the cauliflower later).
Add the olives, pickled peppers, lemon zest and garlic to the food processor. Pulse until the olives are chopped. Taste for salt and heat. Season with salt and Louisiana hot sauce if needed. Transfer to a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle. (Alternately, do this ahead and refrigerate the mixture for longer).
Fried Cauliflower Po'Boys
Get your prep done: Remove ribs, then tear the lettuce leaves lengthwise into approximately 3-inch pieces, then stack and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Slice the tomato into 6 thin slices. Cut the hoagie rolls into lengthwise halves leaving them attached at one end. Heat about 2-inches of oil to 365-375º F in a large heavy pot or dutch oven.
Prepare your drench and dredge: Whisk 1/3 cup water into the cashew cream, adding an additional tablespoon or two if needed to reach a coconut milk consistency. Season with several pinches of salt to taste.
In a shallow dish combine flour, cornmeal, Creole seasoning, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir or whisk until blended.
Dunk the cauliflower florets, a few at a time, into the drench. Allow excess to drain, then transfer to the dredge, and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate to await frying. Repeat with remaining cauliflower, whisking the drench on occasion as the cashew particles tend to settle.
Once the oil is heated, carefully add the cauliflower florets. Do this in batches if needed to avoid crowding. Try to maintain the heat at around 350º F. Fry, gently stirring on occasion, until golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool briefly.
While the cauliflower is frying, spread both halves of the hoagie rolls with the remoulade, being pretty generous with it. Arrange each roll on a plate, in an open, flat orientation. Place 2 slices of tomato on each lower half, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place a mound of lettuce on the upper half of each roll.
Once the cauliflower is ready, arrange 8 pieces on each hoagie roll. Fold each sandwich together and serve with lemon wedges and/or Louisiana hot sauce for individual sandwich "doctoring".