Nigel Slater's Fried Cauliflower Recipe

jonathan-lovekin - Nigel Slater
Ratings (13)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

Cauliflower for the longest time has been seen as an underrated vegetable, the stuff of school dinners, over-boiled, tasteless and a mush. Those days are long gone now. The cauliflower has seen something of a revival in recent years and has become the darling of many a celebrity chef. The use of the cauliflower as a low-carb food has seen it elevated to almost super-food status being a great alternative to the potato or to rice.

Here the cauliflower is fried, perked up with paprika, and served with a tasty salsa verde. The fried cauliflower makes a great starter dish, a small appetizer to a more substantial meal, and with the salsa verde, a perfect vegetarian main course.  ​

This very delicious recipe comes from one of Britain's foremost food writers, Nigel Slater. Nigel has taken one of Britain's favorite vegetables and turned it into something extra special.


  • For the Cauliflower
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • For the Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 6 bushy sprigs mint
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon capers (rinsed)
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Fry the Cauliflower
  • Oil (for frying)
  • 3 tablespoons gram flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this fried cauliflower dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for frying.

Prepare the Cauliflower

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Chop away any green leaves.

  3. Break the cauliflower into florets, but not too small. Imagine each should be a good couple fo bites each.

  4. Drop the florets into boiling salted water for a couple of minutes, and no more. The florets should be firm and not overcooked.  

  5. Drain thoroughly and dry with kitchen paper.

Make the Salsa Verde

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To make the sauce, start by chopping the herbs quite finely, but not so small that they look like tea leaves.

  3. Stir in the garlic, mustard, and capers.

  4. Pour the olive oil into the herbs very slowly, beating continuously with a fork.

  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.

  2. Get the oil hot in a deep pan.

  3. Toss the cauliflower with the gram flour, a little salt, and the paprika.

  4. When the cauliflower is coated, fry in the hot oil till crisp - a matter of 3 or 4 minutes.

  5. Drain on kitchen paper before serving with the sauce.

  6. Serve and enjoy!

Kitchen Note

  • This recipe makes enough for two as a main dish, or enough for four as a side. Keep this in mind when preparing. If you need more for a larger crowd, scale up.

Alternatives to Fried Cauliflower and Salsa Verde

  • This recipe is about as perfect as it can be and will soon become a family favorite so you may want to tweak now and again. 

  • Switch out the herbs to taste though it is always a good idea to keep some basil in there. Flat leaf parsley makes a good sauce.

  • Add a little curry powder instead of the paprika, or other spices as you prefer.