Crispy Cauliflower and Cheese Fritters Croccantini di Cavolfiore e Formaggio

Serves 4-6 (depending on hunger!)

800g cauliflower florets
salt and pepper
olive oil, for shallow-frying

Batter
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour
150g Parmesan, Cheddar or Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
1 garlic clove, peeled and  puréed
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

This dish is excellent served alongside arancini di riso (see page 104) and is one my friends always ask for when they come to visit. The combination is very successful, an Italian form of cauliflower cheese!

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until soft, about 15-20 minutes.  (A little tip to avoid the strong cauliflower smell is to add a drop of vinegar to the cooking water.) Drain well, and leave to cool.

Using your hands, crumble the cooked and cooled cauliflower into walnut-sized pieces and place in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the egg, flour, cheese, garlic, nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Pour this into the cauliflower bowl, and mix well – but gently.

Pour enough oil into your frying pan to cover the base generously and heat gently, taking care the oil doesn’t get too hot (see left). Using a tablespoon, put spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, and shallow-fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on kitchen paper serve warm or cold.

To make it more special

 If serving the fritters by themselves, you might consider accompanying the, with a little spicy dipping sauce. In a blender, combine 4 tomatoes with a little chilli, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.  If you dare (and at your peril!), you could also add a very finely chopped garlic clove

This recipe is from Antonio Carluccio’s Simple Cooking