Earlier this week I had promised my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, something special for dinner Friday evening. For her, something special can be something as simple as meatloaf. Well alright then, meatloaf it is, but that loaf of meat needed some company and some accoutremonts.
Rather than a trip to the neighborhood Publix, where shopping is an adventure, I headed out to the backyard to harvest some grub and greens from the garden.
To enhance the meatloaf experience I decided on a cauliflower side dish with a before dinner mint julep. I was fortunate to find a head of cauliflower, some mint, parsley, basil, and scallions out back and a bottle of Kentucky bourbon on the kitchen counter. We are in bidness now, thought I.
After a medicinal julep or two on the verandah (a pre-derby day treat), I wobbled my way into the kitchen to rattle those pots and pans, and get my mise en place into place.
What I wound up with was the most savory and delightful cauliflower dish I have ever enjoyed - the Bang Bang Cauliflower, slightly piquant with a bit of crunch from the panko crust.
The star of the show, after the juleps that is, was the meatloaf - juicy and loaded with bacony goodness in a sea of tasty bits.
If any of this looks good to you, I have added the recipes below.
Bang Bang Cauliflower
1/2 cup panko
salt and pepper -- to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 each eggs -- lightly beaten
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup green onion -- thinly sliced for garnish
For the sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Vietnamese chili garlic sauce -- or to taste
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Slice the cauliflower florets about the diameter of a quarter.
Mix salt, pepper, corn starch and garlic powder into your panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
Dip florets one by one into eggs, and then coat with panko mixture.
After coating the florets, place them in a deep fryer heated to 350 degrees F and cook until brown and floating.
Remove from fryer and set on top of paper towels to remove excess oil. Top with more salt.
In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients. Coat fried florets with sauce, top with sprinkles of green onion and serve right away.
Start to Finish Time: "0:40"
NOTES : If you don't have a deep fryer, warm oil in a large frying pan and place all florets in hot oil. Turn with tongs making sure all sides are browned.
You may substitute sriracha for the Viet chili garlic sauce, if you must.
This recipe was adapted from something I found on the Intertube.
1 cup onion -- finely diced
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1/4 cup celery -- finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley -- chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil -- chopped
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup Burgundy
1 cup bread crumbs -- dried
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons catsup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Saute onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil until soft. Let cool.
Mix cooled veggies with remaining ingredients except the bacon.
Incorporate into a loaf shape and place in the middle of a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
Place bacon slices evenly on top of the loaf.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue cooking for 45 minutes or until loaf reaches 160 degrees.
Remove from oven when done and let rest for ten minutes before slicing.
Start to Finish Time: "1:30"