Fried Cauliflower with Herbed Labneh
This is by far the best-selling mezze of all time at Zahav, which is kind of a big deal because, come on, we’re talking about cauliflower. Fried cauliflower is a staple of falafel-shop salad bars, but it’s often undercooked, under-seasoned and limp from being fried too far ahead of time. Cauliflower is an amazing vegetable–you can eat the florets, the hearts and even the leaves! I wanted to showcase it on its own. This is such a simple dish, but I always get asked about my secret. Here it is: Treat the cauliflower like French fries! Cook it long enough to develop a crispy, golden-brown exterior. And make sure you salt the hell out of it. Labneh is drained yogurt, but you can use Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese.
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ½ garlic clove, grated on a microplane
- 1 cup labneh
- Kosher salt
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
- Kosher salt
- For the labneh, combine the herbs, garlic and labneh in a food processor and puree until bright green and smooth. Season well with salt.
- For the cauliflower, heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. (You can tell when the oil is hot enough to fry by sticking the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil; if bubbles form around it, it’s ready. Or heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees on a candy thermometer.) Fry the cauliflower until the exterior is dark golden brown and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, then drain briefly on paper towels. Salt well and serve with the herbed labneh.
- Fried Cauliflower with Herbed Labneh from Zahav, © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
- Photograph: Fried Cauliflower with Herbed Labneh from Zahav, © 2015 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.