A bit like fried chicken, except without the actual chicken. You won’t have grease running down your chin while you eat these, but they’re pretty tasty and kid-friendly.
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into pieces
- 1 cup self-rising flour, or see below
- Neutral oil for frying, like canola
If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make it by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1.5 tsp baking power and 1/4 tsp salt.
In a small bowl, combine all the spices (but not the flour). Lay the cauliflower in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Mix half of the spice mixture with the buttermilk, then pour it over the cauliflower. Stir it around a bit if needed to make sure everything is coated, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
About 30 minutes before you want to start cooking, take out the cauliflower and let it come to room temperature. Pour about 3/4 inch of oil into a deep skillet or sturdy pot and heat over medium high heat.
In a plastic bag, combine the flour and remaining spice mixture. Remove the cauliflower from the buttermilk a few pieces at a time, put them in the bag, and shake them up. Gently knock off the excess flour and set the pieces on a plate to wait for the oil to heat.
If you have a candy thermometer, heat the oil to 375. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil by adding one piece of breaded cauliflower. If it barely bubbles or doesn’t react, the oil isn’t hot enough yet; pull the cauliflower out and try again in a couple of minutes. If it immediately rages and starts boiling and splattering, it’s too hot; pull the cauliflower out, turn down the heat, and try again in a couple of minutes. If the oil bubbles and hisses gently, it’s probably about right.
Once the oil is hot, fry the breaded cauliflower a few pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown, about 8-9 minutes, turning over once. Transfer the cooked pieces to a cooling rack sitting over some paper towels. If you’re going to fry in more than 2-3 batches, you can put the cooked cauliflower in a 200⁰ oven to keep it warm. Serve hot.