Monday, February 10, 2014

Chipolte Cauliflower Tots

I love cauliflower, and so I'm always trying to find new ways to cook it and sneak it in dishes. So when I found this recipe on skinnytaste for Cauliflower Tots I wanted to give them a whirl. I've made some really good zucchini pancakes, so I'd love to have another recipe like that. I played with the recipe a little--to change the flavor profile a bit, since I wanted to serve them with the picadillio from the same blog.

1 medium head cauliflower
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1/2 cup onion
3 tbsp minced cilantro
1 diced chipolte pepper in adobo
1/2 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt, pepper cumin, chili powder, garlic powder to taste
cooking spray

 I ended up using the squash later that evening--but it appears in pretty much all of my pictures, even though it isn't in any of the recipes.

First the cauliflower needs to be cooked--I put it in my steamer basket with a little water, but my basket or pan was too small and it didn't cook evenly. So I nuked it for two minutes until it was tender and then drained it and dried it with paper towels. I also let it cool for a while. It needs to be chopped pretty fine--which is a lot of chopping so after trying for a little, I tossed it in my blender and let it do the hard work. This is the messiest part of the whole process, the rest of the batter came together pretty quickly.

Basically everything gets dumped in a bowl and mixed together. I made this a while before I needed to cook them, and refrigerated it. It didn't have any problems sticking together.

The original recipe called for shaping it into spoonful sized tots, but I thought cakes would be better for how I wanted to serve it. This is a bad idea--don't do it. I did two pans, one with tots and one with patties. I put them both in the oven at 400, but when I went to flip them half way they wouldn't come off of the pan. So I thought I'd pan fry the bigger ones, but I couldn't get them to cook through before they burned on the outside and then they stuck to the pan. The problem is that my stove does very low and infernally hot and burn your house down hot, no medium or medium high or medium low. This is probably user error. The tots, for all I couldn't flip them, turned out great!

The Verdict: The tots turned out crunchy on the outside, soft and cheesey inside, with just the perfect smokey and spicy bite--and were a perfect pair to my picadillio with squash. Unfortunately the patties were underdone, so I reheated them over the meat and veggies and ate it like a shepherd's pie. The flavors really worked for that--so I may make something similar intentionally. This recipe requires some work, but is worth playing around with to get another great way to eat cauliflower!

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