Cauliflower Croquettes

  • My mother usually served cauliflower with buttery dried breadcrumbs – 
  • Known as – à la polonaise.
  • In England cauliflower is often served with a cheese sauce.
  • I often make potato croquettes – krokiety kartoflane 
  • I saw this recipe and thought it sounds like the two combined.
  • They were delicious.

Ingredients

  • ½ of a large cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoon of plain flower
  • 200ml milk
  • 50g grated cheese – Cheddar or Gouda
  • *
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • Breadcrumbs
  • More plain flour
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Cook the cauliflower by boiling or steaming.
  • Leave to go completely cold.
  • Remove any liquid with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.
  • Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher.
  • Make a very thick cheese sauce.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and cook together, stirring all the time.
  • Slowly add the milk and keep stirring until you have a thick sauce.
  • Add the cheese and cook a little more.
  • Stir in the cauliflower.
  • Mix all together to have a uniform mixture.
  • Season to taste.
  • Leave to cool.
  • You need 3 plates or shallow dishes – 
  • Flour in one, beaten egg in the second, dried breadcrumbs in the third.
  • Divide the cauliflower cheese mixture into 12 even pieces.
  • Roll them out into sausage shapes.
  • Dip in the flour and then in the egg.
  • Roll in the breadcrumbs. 
  • *
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • Fry the croquettes on all sides till golden – 3 or 4 at a a time.
  • Keep them warm in a low oven, whilst frying the rest.
Vintage Pyrex Plate

Though not tried yet –  I think you could do variations  by – adding cooked peas or chilli flakes or similar to the mixture.

Battered Cauliflower

  • On a recent trip to my favourite restaurant – Healds Hall in Liversedge – I had a starter of battered cauliflower with fried chillies.
  • It was delicious and I decided to try out the battered cauliflower part.
  • I looked up recipes for various batters and found a myriad of recipes. 
  • Recipes use plain flour, potato flour, cornflour or rice flour or a mixture.
  • Most recipes used sparking spring water or soda water.
  • Some recipes used ice (not tried this).
  • Some recipes used beer (not tried this).
  • Some recipes used whole egg or egg white (I tried this).
  • I tried out 3 variations and they all worked well.
  • *
  • Here are a few tips for whichever recipe you use.
  • Cut the cauliflower into small pieces.
  • Dry the cauliflower if necessary.
  • Sprinkle flour over the cauliflower before dipping in the the batter – this helps it to stick.
  • Liquid must be as cold as possible.
  • Mix the batter quickly – lumps are okay.
  • Batter should be quite thin.
  • Use the mixed batter straight away.
  • The oil for frying must be HOT.
  • Do not put too many pieces in to cook at one time.
  • Remove the cooked battered cauliflower with tongs or a slotted spoon.
  • Leave on a wire rack for a few minutes.
  • But do not leave the cooked cauliflower resting for long.
  • *
  • You can serve these as they are or with a variety of toppings.
  • You can adapt this for other vegetables.

Batter Version 1 – quickest & easiest

Ingredients – 1

  • 100g plain flour & extra for dusting the cauliflower.
  • 200ml very cold sparkling water (or soda water)
  • Salt & pepper
  • *
  • Sunflower oil to fry.

Method – 1

  • Heat the oil till it is hot for frying.
  • Flour the cut cauliflower pieces.
  • Add salt & pepper to the 100g of flour.
  • Quickly mix in the water checking for thickness – you might not need it all.
  • Dip in the cauliflower.
  • Fry the battered cauliflower until lightly golden.
  • Remove pieces and place on a wire rack.

Batter Version 2

Ingredients – 2

  • 70g plain flour & extra for dusting the cauliflower.
  • 30g potato or corn flour**
  • 200ml very cold sparkling water (or soda water)
  • Salt & pepper
  • *
  • Sunflower oil to fry.
  • *
  • ** proportions can be different – 50:50 or 30:70

Method – 2

  • Heat the oil till it is hot for frying.
  • Flour the cut cauliflower pieces.
  • Mix the 2 flours together.
  • Add salt & pepper to the flours.
  • Quickly mix in the water checking for thickness – you might not need it all.
  • Dip in the cauliflower.
  • Fry the battered cauliflower until lightly golden.
  • Remove pieces and place on a wire rack.

Batter Version 3

Ingredients – 3

  • 100g plain flour & extra for dusting the cauliflower.
  • ½ beaten egg white
  • 100ml very cold sparkling water (or soda water)
  • Salt & pepper
  • *
  • Sunflower oil to fry

Method – 3

  • Heat the oil till it is hot for frying.
  • Flour the cut cauliflower pieces.
  • Add salt & pepper to the flour.
  • Mix in the egg white.
  • Quickly mix in the water checking for thickness – you might not need it all.
  • Dip in the cauliflower.
  • Fry the battered cauliflower until lightly golden.
  • Remove pieces and place on a wire rack.

Cauliflower Soup

I have given two versions of this soup – the only difference is the way it is finished at the end – the start is the same for both.

Note

If you are not using your cauliflower immediately then it is better to store it in a cool place, not in the fridge, with the leaves still on.

Ingredients with Polish style thickening

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from Marigold Powder
  • 2 tablespoons of potato or corn flour
  •  250ml of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

Method

  • Remove all the green leaves from the cauliflower.
  • Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
  • Using a large saucepan, add the cauliflower to the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down, put on the lid and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes – checking earlier.
  • Do not let the cauliflower cook too much – you do not want a “mush”!
  • In a small bowl mix the potato/cornflour with 125ml of the milk.
  • In another small bowl mix the egg yolks and the other 125ml of the milk.
  • Add the flour/milk mixture to the soup, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
  • Add the yolk/milk mixture to the soup and stir gently until it thickens even more.
  • Season to taste.

Ingredients with soured cream

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from Marigold Powder
  • 200ml of soured cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Remove all the green leaves from the cauliflower.
  • Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
  • Using a large saucepan, add the cauliflower to the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down, put on the lid and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes – checking earlier.
  • Do not let the cauliflower cook too much – you do not want a “mush”!
  • Remove from the heat and gently stir in the soured cream.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Optional

  • Serve with some chopped chives, dill or flat leaved parsley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 – 1988

Carrot Variation

Coarse grate a large carrot in with the cauliflower.

This is a variation my mother often did to give an addition to the colour, as my father did not really like just white looking soups or sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959 – 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z jarzyn  – cutlets from vegetables.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

These are made with boiled or steamed vegetables.

Root vegetables are good here as well as cooked cabbage – you can also add cooked pulses such as peas and beans –  I am writing a post just about bean fritters which will be posted soon.

The following vegetable are ones I often use: cabbage, carrots, celeriac, cauliflower, parsnip and potato.

The cooked vegetables need to be chopped fine, minced or mashed – whichever is more suitable or easiest.

For this post I cooked the vegetables especially but this is a good way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Around 500g of cooked vegetables – chopped, mashed or minced as appropriate.
  • 2 onions – chopped fine
  • Butter to fry the onions
  • 1 egg (can add another egg yolk as well)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of potato flour – depends on how moist or starchy the vegetables are.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dried Breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Extras – you can add chopped parsley, dill or chives or any other herbs you like.

Method

Chop fine, mash or mince the vegetables as appropriate.

Chop the onions and fry them gently in butter till golden and leave to cool.

  • Mix the vegetables and the onion together.
  • Add the egg and mix well.
  • Add enough potato flour to make the mixture fairly stiff.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Put dried breadcrumbs on a board or large plate.
  • Make largish balls of the mixture and flatten them onto the breadcrumbs, turn them over  and cover all the sides.
  • Fry them gently in hot sunflower oil.
  • You can keep them warm on a baking tray in the oven whilst making the rest.

Reheating

I like these reheated – Place them on a baking tray into a pre-heated hot oven GM6  200°C for around 15  minutes.

The combinations are endless – here are some ideas ….

Cauliflower & Spring Onions or Chives

As in the instructions above with the addition of chopped spring onion (the green part) or chives.

Carrot & Parsnip

Carrot, Potato & Peas

.

à la Polonaise

Polish Style

I was well into my 20s before I realised that there was a special French culinary phrase to describe, what to me, was just the regular topping that my mother and aunties put onto certain cooked vegetables.

Within my family I had never been served cauliflower, Brussels sprouts  or whole green beans without a lovely crispy buttery breadcrumb mixture.

I have not discovered when this term was first used in France but some sources think it might have come into use in the early part of the 19th century when many Polish political émigrés came to France and in particular Paris.

Method for the Vegetables

Cook your cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or whole green bean in whatever way you like best.

You can if you wish cook the cauliflower whole – this can have quite a good effect when served.

I like to steam the vegetables as I find I can get them just right – cooked – but still with a bit of bite this way.

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Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Place the cooked (and drained if necessary) vegetables in a serving dish.

Pour the buttery topping over the vegetables.

You will get a buttery crunchy taste which is a contrast to the vegetables.

Method for the  à la Polonaise topping

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Butter & Breadcrumbs

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Preparing the Breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The topping is made by melting in a saucepan 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of butter.

(If you use unsalted butter then add a pinch or two of salt)

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Melting the Butter

 

 

 

 

 

Add to this around 2 tablespoonfuls of dried breadcrumbs and keep on the heat and stir for a few minutes.

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Preparing the Breadcrumbs

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Butter & Breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

 

Pour the buttery mix over the vegetables.

Cauliflower à la Polonaise – served in a Royal Doulton serving dish. The pattern is Carnation produced from 1982 to 1998.

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Brussels Sprouts à la Polonaise – served in a Royal Doulton serving dish. The pattern is Roundelay produced from 1970 to 1997.

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Royal Doulton – Roundelay

Whole green beans à la Polonaise

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Added Note

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Some cookery books say that chopped hard boiled eggs and chopped flat leaf parsley are added to the topping.

Personally I have not found this to be usually so, although chopped hard boiled eggs are added to many salads and to certain soups in Poland and chopped flat leafed parsley is very often used as a garnish.