These delicious little bite size treats would be perfect for a summer BBQ appetiser – especially for your vegetarian friends.
12 oz bag cauliflower florets, cut into small, bite-size “popper” pieces
½ cup flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
Green onion, chopped, for optional garnish
Blanch the cauliflower pieces by adding them to a pot of well-salted, boiling water for about 30-45 seconds just until crisp-tender; drain, then shock for about 30 seconds in ice-water to cool; drain from ice water and pat dry with paper towel; set aside for a moment.
Set up your breading station by adding the flour into a large ziplock bag, along with a pinch of salt; next, beat the eggs in a large bowl; finally, add the panko, the parmesan, the paprika, pepper and a pinch of salt into another large ziplock bag.
To bread, add the blanched cauliflower pieces to the bag with the flour, and very gently shake to coat the pieces well; next, add the floured pieces to the bowl with the beaten eggs, and toss the pieces to coat with the egg; next, add the pieces to the bag with the panko/parmesan mixture, and again, gently shake to coat the pieces well; take the coated pieces out and place onto a plate to hold.
To fry, heat enough oil to shallow fry (about ½ cup) in a large skillet or pan; once the oil is hot, add about a third or half (depending on size of pan) of the breaded cauliflower pieces in, and allow them to fry for about 5-7 minutes, moving them around occasionally, until crispy and golden-brown on all sides; remove and drain on paper towel, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper if desired, and repeat until all pieces are fried.
To serve, allow the “Poppers” to cool slightly, as they will be quite hot when fresh out of the oil; serve alongside the Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dipping sauce, and garnish with some chopped green onion, if desired.
Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce
½ cup sour cream (light or regular)
1 medium garlic clove
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch salt
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch black pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
Pinch Italian seasoning
Into a small bowl, add all of the ingredients and whisk/blend until well combined; cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.