Cast Iron

Fried Cauliflower in Parmesan Batter

Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Makes a lot
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 head of cauliflower
In This Recipe
  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.

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