This has to be one of our all-time favourites and is so ridiculously easy to make! The combination of flavours with the simple cauliflower base is completely moreish (especially if you’re a salt lover like me).
It wasn’t until I moved to France that I started eating so much of this vegetable. At home my parents didn’t really serve it – note: we DID actually eat vegetables at my parents’, and not just the frozen variety either, just in case you were thinking ‘ahh, those Aussies with their chops and three frozen veg’… But I remember it well at one of my best-friend’s mum’s… She would always serve ‘cauliflower cheese’ with a family roast and we’d all fight over it. But these were probably the only times I ate it. In France my husband’s family eat it regularly and eat it as an entree or sidedish, boiled or steamed and then served with a vinaigrette poured over the top and chopped parsley. This recipe isn’t very different to this, just a few more flavours and time in preparing each ingredient. It comes from one of the queens of cooking in Australia, Stephanie Alexander, in her brilliant ‘The Cook’s Companion’. When Benjamin and I first moved to France this was one of the only two cookbooks we brought with us on the plane (and you should see how big the book is), and I can’t believe how helpful it’s been, all this time.
We eat this as an entree, or to accompany a BBQ. And it is amazing as left-overs the next day or two (if you’re anything like me and love to eat food upto a week after it’s been in the fridge. Parents from the Depression and their influence!!..)
‘Cauliflower Polonaise’ (from Stephanie Alexander) – serves 4 with these quantities, but I tend to always double it!
2 hardboiled eggs (no time for arguments!)
2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
oil or butter for frying the capers
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
Oh, and I almost forgot: a small cup of home-made vinaigrette (I have added this to the recipe as I like it moist!) – mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red-wine vinegar, olive oil
Steam cauliflower, section it up and then put aside on a serving dish. (You may like to prepare all the ingredients ahead, so that the dish is served hot or warm, or otherwise serve at room temperature).
Shell the eggs, and separate the yolks from the whites (my husband thinks I’m nuts every time I insist on doing this). Chop up the whites and then crush the yolks with the back of a fork, keep apart in bowls for later.
In a frying pan, toss the breadcrumbs in the butter, always tossing to avoid them burning. I like my mix to have larger crouton-sized chinks as well as crumbs, so maybe do the chunks forst and then add the crumbs at the end. Fry until very golden.
Drain and then fry the capers in some oil or butter until they open.
Scatter ingredients over the cauliflower in this order – egg whites, yolk, breadcrumbs/ croutons, capers and then the parsley. Pour over with vinaigrette… et voila!