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Fried Cauliflower w/ Sesame Parsley Sauce

Fried Cauliflower w/ Sesame Parsley Sauce
When I was in high school, my favorite food to buy when the fair was in town (aside from elephant ears) was tempura veggies.  It was like the best of both worlds - veggies AND fried food.  Mushrooms, broccoli, onions, zucchini, and cauliflower all tender and nestled inside they're lightly crisp and golden coating {wistful sigh}.  I've just succeeded in giving myself a massive craving.

Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusion that the veggies were still healthy once they were battered and bathed in hot oil.  But I like to pretend.  I only ate them like that once a year, so I think it was relatively okay.  And sadly, when trying to think back to the last time that I had tempura veggies, I think it was around 20 years ago.  Eeeep!  My 20-year reunion was this year (I didn't go).  I don't remember a time since then that I've had them.  I need to make a batch for old times sake.

Fried Cauliflower w/ Sesame Parsley Sauce
What's that have to do with today's post?  Not a whole lot.  Just the fact that I'm bringing you another deliciously crave-worthy fried cauliflower dish.  This time, sans batter.  Think that makes it one step closer to healthy?  Yeah, probably not.  But I still recommend trying it at least once - especially if you are a fried veggie fan.  After that, you could always switch to roasting it; slightly different flavor profile and texture, but still tasty...especially when you have this pleasantly pungent sauce to swipe it through!

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's my birthday.  I want to find some veggies to deep-fry since it's "my day".

Fried Cauliflower w/ Sesame Parsley Sauce (Qarnabeet Mekleh Bil Taratoor)
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: fry side vegan sugar-free soy-free dairy-free tahini cauliflower Middle Eastern

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • oil, for deep frying
for the Sesame Parsley Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • big handful fresh parsley leaves, minced
make the Sesame Parsley Sauce:
Whisk the tahini and lemon juice together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk while dribbling in the water, until everything combines.

Crush the garlic cloves with the salt with a mortar and pestle (or on a cutting board with the flat edge of a knife), until you have a paste.

Add to the bowl, along with the parsley, and stir to combine. Set aside. If not using right away, refrigerate.
making Sesame Parsley Sauce
making the cauliflower and finishing the dish:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the cauliflower and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain it in a colander, and then pat it dry as thoroughly as you can.

Add oil to a heavy-bottomed pot, to a depth of about 2-3 inches; heat to 375° F over medium-high heat. The temperature is important (as is drying the cauliflower), so that you don't get soggy, grease-filled results. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper toweling and set aside.

Carefully lower 1/2 of the dried cauliflower into the oil and fry until golden brown, moving it around from time to time, approximately 6-10 minutes. Carefully lift the cauliflower from the hot oil, letting as much oil fall back into the pot as possible, and set it on the prepared tray.

Bring the oil back up to temperature, and repeat with the remaining half of the cauliflower.

Serve the cauliflower warm, or at room temperature, with the Sesame Parsley sauce drizzled over it.

-ever-so-slightly adapted from An Edible Mosaic by Faith Gorsky
Fried Cauliflower w/ Sesame Parsley Sauce