About the Recipe
Crisp, fried cauliflower florets are simmered on a bed of chopped vegetables in a fresh tomato and olive oil sauce.
This hearty Rhodes Island-style cauliflower stew is full of flavourful goodness and makes an unusual vegetarian entrée served alongside your favourite rice pilaf.
1 large cauliflower (about 1kg/21⁄4lb)
For coating: 1⁄2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour and 3 lightly beaten eggs in separate bowls
For shallow frying: vegetable or grape-seed oil
For the vegetable base: 4 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, roughly chopped reserved cauliflower leaves and stalks 1 large carrot, diced 1 large potato, diced 4 scallions (spring onions), sliced 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes
1⁄2 tsp sugar sea salt and finely ground white pepper 1 cup hot chicken or vegetable stock 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1⁄2 cup hot water
Prepare the cauliflower: Cut off the green leaves and stalks from the cauliflower, slice them and reserve for the vegetable base. Break the cauliflower florets off the stem and clean thoroughly by soaking in cold salted water for 15 minutes. Rinse well and drain. Steam the florets over boiling salted water, for about 7 minutes or until just tender. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Refresh with cold water and drain in a colander.
Heat 2.5cm (1in) oil in a deep frying pan over a medium-high heat. Coat the florets with flour and then with beaten egg, a few at a time. Cook the florets in batches until they are crisp and golden on all sides. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Make the vegetable base: Heat the oil in a large shallow oven-to-table casserole over a medium heat. Toss in the onion, reserved cauliflower leaves and stalks; carrot, potato and scallions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and pour in the hot stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the lemon juice and hot water. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Arrange the cauliflower on top of the vegetable base. Cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
To serve: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower floret tops are crisp and golden brown. Serve piping hot.