fried cauliflower with green sauce

you’d think i’d be blogging every day now i’ve resigned and working the hours my contract says i should. i am cooking often enough. but no. i’ve not written a word for weeks. it would appear that my decision to change jobs has come with an unexpected side effect: my brain has turned to mush.

i come in every day full of good intentions. i have a long list of things to do and i have arranged things is neat piles on my desk. some of it is urgent and important. for example, i have to get my head around the subject of otc derivatives and, trust me, it ain’t easy. it means reading paragraphs like these: ‘novation is what distinguishes ccp from a clearinghouse. the latter, in effect, performs only bilateral netting, interposing it between two or more counterparties in order to give parties only one point of interaction, but without assuming any risk on its own in the transaction. the alternatives to novation can be open offers or guarantee schemes.’ that’s that settled, then.

but i get distracted. by crap. i waste time lurking on twitter, i check my yahoo email, i read endless recipes and restaurant reviews, i google places to eat, i look at clothes i would like to buy...rubbish, basically. my favourite is twitter. if you follow enough people, you can waste an incredible amount of time reading what they say. most of which is of absolutely no use whatsoever but is, somehow, weirdly interesting.

in fact, i behave how i imagine people who work from home behave, which is why i could never do it: i need someone to crack the whip and shout every now and again. i know it’s not very mature but if i’ve not sorted this out by the age of 37, it’s unlikely i ever will.

all in all, i am astonishingly unproductive. i don’t think booking a restaurant online would count as an achievement, or an ‘outcome’ as they like to call it now, in anyone’s book. i mean, it is an outcome of sorts and i will hopefully have a full belly at the end, but it’s not going to get me ready for the new job.

anyway, here is something i DID cook the other day, and i am only blogging about it so i don’t forget i ever made it. it’s a cauliflower thing, and i am rather fond of cauliflower things, especially when they involve frying or roasting and not boiling. quickly blanched and then fried, cauliflower loses that mildly sulphuric blandness that most people hate (that was syntax worthy of nigella. see post from 25 july. and then kill me.)

as for the green sauce, it’s a pretty standard combination of ingredients, which you can vary according to what you have. you could also put in some capers, i think that would be nice. the quantities given are just approximate. you need to taste and add things and carry on tasting and adding until you have something you are happy with. i’d definitely not put all the lemon juice in at once as it might make it too acidic.

(PS i don’t know why i didn’t just call this salsa verde and be done with it – somehow, i like the ronsil-like approach of ‘green sauce’.)

for two

½ large cauliflower, broken into florets (i REALLY want this to be spelt ‘florettes’. isn’t that nicer?)
1tsp sweet paprika (i did not use the smoked spanish stuff, this was ordinary serbian sweet paprika)
½tsp ground cumin

for the sauce:
a small bunch of parsley
a small bunch of basil
a small bunch of coriander
4 anchovies
½ to 1 clove garlic
half a lemon, juiced – but only add half to start with
1tsp dijon mustard
olive oil

olive oil
salt and pepper

blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for about two minutes and drain, leaving it in the sieve for all the water to drip off. either on a big plate or in one of those sealable plastic bags, mix the cumin, paprika and a good grinding of salt and pepper. add the drained and hopefully pretty dried florets, and try and coat with the spice mixture as much as possible.

now make the sauce. whizz all the ingredients in a food processor with enough olive oil to make a paste. kind of like pesto, but maybe a bit runnier. taste, adjust the seasoning, and that’s it.

heat the oil in a big frying pan until hot, then add the cauliflower florets and fry until golden. don’t crowd the pan or they will be soggy – just stick them in and leave them for a couple of minutes on medium heat until they get a bit of a nice crust thing going. keep turning them over as much as you can to get the same effect on all sides. drain on kitchen paper, and eat immediately.


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