frickled cauliflower

“Frickled” seems like it should be a word that means “the state of our emotions leading up to Election Day.”

But actually it’s a wonderfully benign word that I stole from our neighborhood restaurant Sally O’s which means “pickled, then fried.”

We’ve been getting takeout from there frequently and then ended up doing an early outdoor dining adventure there last week because it was beautiful outside. I have no hesitation about stating that their Highlandtown Smash Burger is the best burger in Baltimore, probably best burger of my life. And we were all pleasantly surprised that the Impossible burger version was equally as delicious.

We ordered a couple of apps, one of them being this frickled cauliflower. Their presentation is substantially better than mine, as you’ll soon see, but I think my execution was very successful.

Frickled Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower (it will make a LOT, so maybe 1/2 a head)

3 cups distilled white vinegar

2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tbs sugar

1 1/2 tbs salt

2 cups water

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

peel of one lemon

2-3 cloves garlic

1 can beer

2ish cups flour

canola oil, for frying

sour cream (I used Toffuti to make this fully vegan!)

sriracha

Cut the core out of the cauliflower and chop them into smallish pieces- like one or two bite sizes.

Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, lemon peel, garlic, and water to a boil. The lemon/garlic/CRP are all optional- you can include whatever flavors you want or what you have around the house. Maybe a jalapeno or some ginger or lime!

Once it’s simmering, pour it over your florets. This can stay in the fridge for several days- you want to do it at least a day ahead of when you’re going to fry so that you get that pickled flavor in the cauliflower.

When you’re ready to fry, whisk 2ish cups of flour into beer. I say “2 ish” because it depends on the size of the beer can. But you’re looking for a thin pancake batter consistency.

Heat your canola oil. I use my Dutch oven for this and I’m not sophisticated enough to use a thermometer, but I test the oil temp by dropping a little of the batter in there. You want the oil to immediately bubble around it, but not be so hot that it starts to smoke. On my stove that’s a medium/high setting.

Fry until golden brown on all sides. Obviously you don’t have to worry about anything being “raw” so you’re just looking for good color. Fry in batches, putting them onto a cooling rack over a baking sheet to drip off any excess oil, and salt immediately after they come out of the oil.

I served it with a mix of sour cream and sriracha for dipping. And since my SIL was joining I got vegan sour cream (Toffuti!) and we couldn’t even tell the difference.

I’ve been beer battering a lot lately. It is SO easy and it hadn’t occurred to me that it’s an easy way to make vegan fried things (most frying involves egg). It’s the lightest and fluffiest fry coating, and you can really taste the pickled taste underneath so it’s a good way to cut the typical richness of fried food. Plus it’s pretty filling so it’s a good plant-based meal.

I think we’ll be turning the rest of it into tacos (avocado, pickled onion, more sriracha sour cream) and stress-eat them tomorrow evening with CNN in the background. Thoughts and prayers, America.

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