Nigel Slater's Fried Cauliflower

Fried cauliflower with salsa verde

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
412 Calories
39g Fat
14g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 412
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 51%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 459mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 76mg 379%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 319mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cauliflower has seen something of a revival in recent years and has become the darling of many a celebrity chef. The use of cauliflower as a low-carb food, a great alternative to potato or rice, and a key ingredient for vegetarians, has taken this cruciferous vegetable to superfood status. The fact that it is also incredibly versatile has also made it a favorite ingredient to work with.

This very delicious recipe comes from one of Britain's foremost food writers, Nigel Slater. The cauliflower is fried, perked up with paprika, and served with a tasty salsa verde. Fried cauliflower makes a perfect small starter to a more substantial meal, a great side dish, and with the salsa verde, an ideal vegetarian main course. ​


For the Cauliflower:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 3 tablespoons gram flour (chickpea flour)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

For the Salsa Verde:

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed

  • 6 large sprigs mint

  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, lightly packed

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Sea salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Cauliflower

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Head of cauliflower with green leaves
    The Spruce
  2. Chop away any green leaves.

    Head of cauliflower with leaves removed
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  3. Break the cauliflower into florets so each piece is a couple of bites each.

    Cauliflower florets on a cutting board
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  4. Drop the florets into boiling salted water and blanch for just a few minutes. The florets should be firm and not overcooked. 

    Boiling the cauliflower
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  5. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel.

Make the Salsa Verde

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making salsa verde
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  2. Chop the herbs finely (but not so small that they look like tea leaves).

    Finely chopped parsley on a cutting board
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  3. Stir in the garlic, mustard, and capers.

    Stirring the garlic, mustard, and capers in a bowl
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  4. Pour in the olive oil very slowly, beating continuously with a fork.

    Salt and pepper to add to the salsa verde
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  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper. Be generous with the seasoning, tasting as you go. The sauce should be bright tasting and piquant.

Fry the Cauliflower

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for frying the cauliflower
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  2. Heat a few inches of oil in a deep pan until hot.

    The oil is placed in a deep pan
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  3. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with the gram flour, a little salt, and the paprika.

    Gram flour, salt, and paprika are added to the cauliflower
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  4. Once the cauliflower is coated, carefully add to the oil and fry until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Frying the cauliflower in oil
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  5. Drain on a paper towel.

    Fried cauliflower drying on paper towels
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  6. Serve hot with the salsa verde and enjoy.

    Fried cauliflower served with salsa verde
    The Spruce


  • This recipe makes enough for 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish, but is easy to scale up if need be.
  • The ideal oil temperature for frying is 350 to 365 F and is best regulated with a cooking thermometer. If you don't have one, place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil—when there are bubbles around the handle that float toward the top, the oil is ready.
  • The best oil for frying is canola oil; it has a high smoke point, a neutral flavor, and is inexpensive.

Recipe Variations

  • Add a little curry powder instead of the paprika if you prefer.
  • Include a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little heat.
  • When making the salsa verde, you can switch out the herbs to taste, although it's always a good idea to keep some basil in there.
  • Make an Italian salsa verde instead, which includes anchovies.