Author Notes: This is my first ode to food52 recipe. I always check out the weekly contests on this website, and I usually follow up and see what other people are contributing. Sometimes I get inspired and purchase ingredients I've never tried, or I buy something I usually skip over because someone in the house dislikes it. My own first attempt for the Cauliflower Contest week was less than delicious; I caramelized some mushrooms and the florettes from half a head of cauliflower, and then did something spicewise I [intentionally, most-likely] can't remember. So I had a half head of cauliflower that I knew my husband wasn't keen on eating, and my kids wouldn't even look at. But other food52-ers were submitting very interesting recipe ideas: mashed cauliflower "potatoes", cauliflower cakes, things fried in bacon fat. So this is what I did that week. Probably a little bland for some people, these "potato' cakes could easily be spiced up for whatever they accompany. My kids devoured these several times before they realized they were eating cauliflower. Food52 has pulled us out of some serious eating ruts! This recipe is a little labor intensive, so I usually double it and freeze some for later. —Sadassa_Ulna
Makes: approx. 8 or 9
beaten, divided in half
ounces cream cheese
teaspoon salt, divided
tablespoons grated parmesan
cup bread crumbs
teaspoon mustard powder, or
ground black pepper
additional spices, to taste
cup or more, vegetable oil
- Peel potatoes* and cook in boiling water for 20 minutes; drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy; leave grease in the pan and pull out bacon slices to cool in a medium mixing bowl. Break into little pieces when cool enough to handle.
- "Rice" the potatoes into the bacon bowl using a hand ricer, or lightly break apart with a fork and knife.
- Cut cauliflower into florettes and steam for 8-10 minutes or until a little soft. Allow to cool.
- In a food processor (or blender) pulse the cauliflower to desired consistency; I like when there are still little chunks and florettes visible. Definitely stop pulsing at the pea-size size.
- Add about 3/4 of the cauliflower to the bacon/potato bowl. Reserve the remaining cauliflower in the processor bowl.
- Add the 1/2 beaten egg, the cream cheese, parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and spices to the remaining cauliflower and pulse until thoroughly blended. Add to the bacon and potato bowl.
- Toss gently to incorporate together (without mashing all the air out). Form into little patties using cupped hands. These can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours, or frozen. Allow to come to room temperature before frying.
- Heat the skillet with the bacon grease in it. Mix other half beaten egg with a little milk in a shallow bowl; pour bread crumbs and 1/2 tsp. salt into a second shallow bowl. Set these up near your stove along with the formed patties. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (optional).
- Add enough vegetable oil to the bacon grease to get a half inch depth in the skillet, adjust heat to medium high. Using one hand, dip a patty into the egg and flip to cover, then drop into the bread crumbs. Use a fork with the other hand to flip and cover with crumbs. [Keep this hand clean and dry because things will get messy with the flipping].
- Use a flat spatula to lift patty and slide into skillet. Continue with all patties until your skillet is full. Keep an eye on them, and flip them over with you start to see golden crumbs sizzle away from the patties. Lift finished cakes out and place in a 9 x 13 pan as they are done; place pan in the oven. Continue to dip, dip, fry each patty as space becomes available in your skillet.
- Keep cakes warm in the oven until serving, if desired. My son likes them with enormous quantities of tomato ketchup. I like them with small quantities of ketchup.
- * This recipe would probably work well using a full head of cauliflower and omitting the potatoes entirely. I also think that chopped onion could be sauteed with the bacon (also chopped) for added flavor, or even replace the bacon, but I haven't gotten that far yet. Maybe some fresh rosemary . . .
- ** I recently made these using potato flakes and water (not cooked, just mixed into a thick batter-like consistency) instead of the riced, cooked potatoes. I prefer real potatoes but other people in the house enjoyed them and it is a time-saver.
- These are a great side dish for baked fish and a green salad. Leftover cakes can be reheated for an after-school snack...