Chicken Fried Cauliflower Steaks With Chimichurri
Fried Cauliflower is my go-to side dish at any pizza shop. That being said, I am always disappointed when it is made using a breading instead of a batter. To take this humble side dish to the next level I used cauliflower steaks to produce a vegetarian riff on chicken fried steak. A cauliflower steak is a 1/2″ vertical cross section taken from the middle of the cauliflower to produce a large flat piece with lots of nooks and crannies. Those nooks and crannies create lots of surface area for the flour dredge and batter to grab on to and become delicious crispy bits. This recipe works well with florets (smaller flower shaped pieces) as well. If are looking for a side dish, then definitely use florets instead.
Originally, I thought about smothering this dish in a mushroom gravy, which would be traditional for a chicken fried steak. I decided instead to go with Chimichurri to brighten up the dish and give it a pop of color. Chimichurri is a great sauce from Argentina usually served on grilled meat. It pairs the earthy flavors of fresh herbs with the sharp flavors of chili, garlic, onions, and vinegar and is great for taming rich and heavy dishes. I used cilantro in my chimichurri, which is the leaf from the the plant that coriander comes from. Many people have a predisposition to disliking cilantro. If you are in that population, parsley is a great substitute, and if chimichurri is not your thing, then definitely try it with mushroom gravy.
This a great take on fried cauliflower and a riff on chicken fried steak. The second dip into the flour gives this dish on an extra layer of crunch and the seltzer helps keep the batter light. This recipe works just as well for smaller pieces of cauliflower as it does with large steaks.
- 1 Head Cauliflower The larger the better
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour Divided in half
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2.5 Cups Seltzer
- 1 tbsp Dried Cayenne Pepper Optional for a little kick
- 1 tbsp Paprika Smoked if you have it
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Vegetable Oil for Frying
Add 1/2 inch of vegetable oil to a heavy frying pan or cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Make sure the heat is not too high otherwise the outside of the cauliflower will burn and the middle will will be tough.
In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with 2 cups of the seltzer. The add the other two cups of flour and the dried cayenne pepper and stir to create a batter. It should be thin. If it seems thick, add the other 1/2 cup of the seltzer.
Vertically slice four 1/2" pieces from the middle of the cauliflower. Dust each piece in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess, then dip the cauliflower in the batter and let any excess drip away for a few seconds, and finally dip back in the flour one more time.
Carefully add the cauliflower steaks to the pan, being careful not to splash the hot oil. Make sure not to crowd the pan, so work in batches. If your pieces are large, do one at time. Fry on each side until golden brown and delicious.
Plate, drizzle on chimichurri, and serve immediately.
Chimichurri is a great sauce from Argentina usually served on grilled meat. It consists of earthy flavors of herbs combined with sharp flavors of chili, garlic, onions, and vinegar and is great for taming rich and heavy dishes.
- 1 cup Cilantro or Parsley Chopped finely
- 4 cloves Garlic Chopped finely
- 1 medium Red Onion Chopped finely
- 1 medium Fresh Red Chili Chopped finely
- 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- Kosher Salt To taste
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine.