Cast Iron

Fried Cauliflower in Parmesan Batter

October 19, 2015
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes A lot
Author Notes

Fried cauliflower has been part of my Thanksgiving experience since I started paying attention to the meal. Before I started noticing food, Thanksgiving meant a big antipasto plate with a weird veggie that tricked you into thinking it was celery but tasted like disgusting licorice, and gross olives. The only saving grace was the mashed rutabagas.

Slowly I became more aware of the food. It began with the wonderful smell that I had never experienced before, that of Parmesan-battered cauliflower hitting hot oil. Heavenly. What I remember most about the fried cauliflower was my Aunt Lorraine frying it up and putting it on a big platter and everyone eating it BEFORE it got to the table. I thought it was an appetizer. WRONG.

But in our house it is an appetizer, a delicious appetizer, so good-tasting that even the pickiest of young eaters scarf them down.

So this is a nod to Aunt Lorraine and her wonderfully delicious fried cauliflower. —Judy at My Well Seasoned Life

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Judy at My Well Seasoned Life is a travel-loving blogger and television producer.
WHAT: Cauliflower florets, cheese-battered and fried.
HOW: Make a simple batter from flour, Parmesan, and water, then fry in hot oil until golden and crispy-edged.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We loved this recipe—loved how the Parmesan flavor really came through after an overnight rest, how well the batter clung to the vegetable florets (no slippage here), and how satisfyingly salty-savory-cheesy the finished product was. The batter would be good with a little heat added, too, or on any number of vegetables. Plus, it's a very easy, very lovable appetizer (or snack, or main course—you decide). —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  1. Pour flour and salt into a bowl then slowly add water. Mix until smooth.
  2. Add grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until incorporated. (Many times I make the batter the day before because the flavor of the Parm intensifies. It will get thicker if you do this, so add bit more water.)
  3. Cut cauliflower into pieces that can be devoured in two bites.
  4. Heat a heavy cast iron pan or electric frying pan with 1/4 inch of grapeseed oil over medium-heat heat. (Set an electric frying pan to 375° F). For cast iron, it's ready if a drop of water sizzles in the pan.
  5. Coat cauliflower pieces with batter.
  6. Place in hot oil. Brown on all sides. Place on paper towels when done.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Danna Farabee
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    Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy

12 Reviews

Danna F. June 21, 2023
Simple and very tasty!
neenagoswamy December 28, 2020
So this was great! You all are going to hate me, but I def make it with the green Parmesan and honestly, it was terrific! Will def be making again for when we go to a family dinner as it's an instant hit.
chop C. December 18, 2016
Cooked this last night to pair with a steak. My wife loved it. While this recipe is just fine the way it is, I was thinking of adding another component to it, possible some chopped chive right before serving it to add another flavor profile. Will make again. So easy to make.
Eddie December 18, 2016
Lovely. I added a bit of fine breadcrumbs for texture and some ground black pepper, it all went down very well indeed
olinda May 1, 2016
My mother cooked all the time when I was a kid . How did you get the idea ?
Bevi April 22, 2016
This sounds great!
ieatthepeach April 22, 2016
Congrats on the contest finalist! I bookmarked this one right away--it looks ahhhh-mazing, and I bet the batter would work with lots of other veggies as well.
Judy A. April 25, 2016
Thanks so much. And yes other veggies would be great. I'm thinking of artichokes hearts right now.
Joy H. April 22, 2016
I hate to ask this, but when you say "grated Parmesan cheese" can I use the stuff that comes out of the green can?
Tracy R. April 22, 2016
please don't thats not even a dairy product
Judy A. April 25, 2016
I have never used that type of cheese, I would use a different type of grated parm.
Regine October 20, 2015
Yummy. I should make this. I could even see myself drizzing some honey (like this hot spicy honey that I have) on top.