Friday, March 3, 2017

Baked Cauliflower Fries – How Not to Make Baked Cauliflower Fries

I won’t add insult to injury writing a long blog post about how disappointing this recipe was. The video pretty much says it all. And while I can’t honestly say I hope you try this yourself, a small part of me secretly hopes you do.

Not that I want you to experience the misery that was this recipe, but rather because maybe you’ll think of a way to actually pull this off. The taste was fine. Maybe even better than fine, but the texture was a huge letdown. You can’t win them all. Enjoy?

Ingredients for about 24 crappy cauliflower “fries:”
2 head cauliflower (about 5 pounds total), cut into florets
1 tablespoon kosher salt
- You should end up with about 3 1/2 cups of cooked, squeezed-dry cauliflower
To the cauliflower add…
2 large eggs
4 ounce (about 1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1 ounce (1/4 cup packed) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 cloves peeled garlic, crushed fine
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
more cheese to dust top


Unknown said...

Chef John, good sir, I'm a huge fan of your recipes, and regularly mess with them when I try them out. [Because, hey, That's Me Cooking!™] With that said, I think this video was one of your absolute most entertaining. So look at it this way: it might have been a food failure, but it's a definite entertainment win! Thanks for being awesome!

Bill Morash. said...

If you had flattened the mixture into thin patties after refrigerating it and pan fried them in some oil, would they have passed as a copy of fast food restaurant hash browns?

spendingsensibly said...

Your window into the world of a chef is a breath of fresh air. Every failure just means one less obstacle on the road to success.

Unknown said...

Deep fry instead of the hot oven? How could that be bad?

Unknown said...

Not a bad vid. I think with an aging population, the texture might be appealing. I don't know why I'm thinking to add some panko or bread crumbs to it.

Roberto said...

Quarter the cauliflower, then cut into wedges leaving a piece of stem on each piece to hold florets together. Try to make slices 1/2" thick or a little thicker.
Steam carefully until tender, but don't let pieces fall apart.
Transfer to a fine meshed broiling rack or use a cooling rack.
Paint with olive oil infused with garlic and oregano or sprinkle with garlic powder and some dry oregano if you prefer.
Broil until slightly brown and carefully turn pieces over.
Paint second side with infused oil and/or sprinkle with garlic and oregano.
Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Broil second side until cheese starts to brown.

These look very much like cauliflower pieces and less like school cafeteria fish sticks, but you can't have everything.

Edward said...

Jicama works well as a non-potato and very low calorie french fry. You can bake or fry them.

Unknown said...

Oh my, you posted this 4 weeks early. Didn't you mean to use it for April Fools Day?

Unknown said...

Would "deep-frying" the sticks give them a more crispy texture? Tastewise, this sounds like a good recipe.

Chris K. said...

Better luck next time, Chef. Always remember: you are the Billy Crudup of your f**k-up.

Cora said...

Hi Chef John,

Enjoyed the video. The trend of converting cauliflower into a substitute for starch in standard recipes has produced some strange dishes. I made one. After hours of work and many dirty dishes later, I ended up with something that was not really worth the effort.

I am convinced that cauliflower "rice" is the carob of 2017.

Lisa said...

Hey Chef! Don't be so hard on yourself! I enjoyed your video and most of the time, I don't actually watch to learn a new recipe as much as I do to absorb your cooking techniques and advice. Knowing you have food-blunders makes me feel better as a beginner/rookie. :o)
>>Perhaps if you fried them in oil (the way they make french fries) they would've come out crispy?

Unknown said...

We love you sooo much Chef John!! Your are the realest!! Keeps me cracking up your biggest fan!
I mad

Unknown said...

I feel your pain. There have been a few times that I've been excited to try a new recipe, put in a lot of time and effort, only to taste it and say, 'what the heck!?'.
You're still one of my favorite chefs and really appreciate your honesty about recipes. Thanks.

Tsuchan said...

I had a few ideas to tweak this, which I'm tempted to try out - especially as I have a cauliflower begging for a purpose. Here's what I'm thinking:
- Reserve ⅓ of the cauliflower and blitz them just to small pieces to retain some texture, and steam them for a short time.
- Mix them with the 'cauliflower puree' and make the mixture dry the mixture by adding panko instead of squeezing.
- Keep the Parmigiano Reggiano but leave the cheddar
- Shape them into patties, maybe with a little chunk of Bree or Camembert stuffed in the centre
- Refrigerate, egg and breadcrumb with more panko, and deep fry.
I wonder if that could work.

Unknown said...

U r hilarious! Love ur realness! All good cooks have done stuff like this! Thanks for the laugh! Love u tons!

nishis said...

This is easily one of the finest recipe videos I've ever watched (and I've watched almost all of yours). Laughed out loud several times. Perhaps because I've been disappointed by laborious cauliflower endeavors as well...
I will say, the microwave does a good job of cooking/drying cauliflower. I think part of the problem you experienced was due to treating the cauli like polenta, which is isn't.

Barbara said...

I'm not sure I ever previously have laughed outloud at a food blog post. But I did, more than once. Thanks!!

Julio said...

I will try just to chill the mixture without bake, cut in "fingers" and fry with panko.

Unknown said...

Panko maybe?

Rico's Blog said...

Dear Chef John,

We in the Netherlands love "bloemkool"... (cauliflower). When we bake it, we always use butter! real dutch butter.

Give it an other change and use butter.
Also a litte bit of plain flower.

Fry them in a pan, with... you will probably already know... butter.

After this, We both can say... Enjoy! it is worth it.


Unknown said...

This video is exactly why you're my favourite food vlogger. (your recipe for cauliflower pizza crust is great by the way)

Nelson said...

Your conclusion sums up my experience with about 95% of the low-carb 'copycat' recipes I've tried to make. Too much effort for a meh end result.

Anonymous said...

CJ, Your "failures" are 99.999999% unbelievably better than everyone else's success in the kitchen. #AMAZED

Sibbie said...

Dear Chef John,

You never cease to entertain me. I watch your videos often and have learned so much from you.

I love that you say what you really think about a recipe. Sometimes we don' know until we try.

Keep up the wonderful work. You are truly appreciated.

Unknown said...

I wonder what would happen if you made "fries" of the stalks cut into logs and either deep fried or did that baked-crunchy coating thing?

--No, I can't try it: we haven't recovered from the too-awesome rice pudding video of last week!


"Golly, look at all those ramekins in the sink! How many of those puddings did I just eat anyways?!!"

...P.S. Hey Chef John, I know in a former job you taught kitchen economics or something. My (sorta) "food" wish is for you to teach us how to shop, portion, reduce waste, and otherwise get our home-ec costs/system under control. It would either go viral or be a mega-cult classic! Call us crazy, but being frugal is what gives some of us foodies more time to be in the kitchen.

Unknown said...

My f
irst time post. I love your videos and am thrilled that you take your mistakes and make a teaching moment out of them. I have had numerous times that I spent a whole day learning something new and so looking forward to the taste of the results to be completely disappointed. I feel your pain. Love your videos too much too ever give you grief. Blog on! J.Pino

hecks said...

Hi Chef John

long time fan you have taught me how to live the good life through food

can you do a recipe on a jelly filled pancake

Michele Cryan said...

hey CJ, remember me? I'm still cooking (thanks to you) great meals. Hubby and I made the switch to #nsng. We still enjoy your lemon, garlic, yogurt chicken and many other recipes. I am now inspired by two Italian-Americans Vinnie Tororich and John Mitewich. Both great guys with difficult last names!

Unknown said...

Hey Chef John,
Do you have a preferred caesar salad dressing recipe or brand?
i have an idea for caesar sriarcha chicken wings, but i only ever buy my dressing

Jude said...

Chef John, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your latest cauliflower fries video, despite it being a failure, your upbeat tone and encouragement of being willing to try new things is still inspiring and makes me smile!

Now, can you PLEASE make a video involving frying florets of cauliflower, or point me to a good recipe anyway because I see it on the menu all over LA, and very few places make it well....the damn batter just won't cling to the damn cauliflower.

There's this restaurant in Culver City called PUBLIC SCHOOL and they make a crispy "Buffalo Cauliflower" (like buffalo wings seasoning I guess) and it's the most addictive dish in the world, served with blue cheese aioli. It also costs a fortune, and the serving is so small. I wish you could crack that formula, I would be so grateful. And if you don't, I still adore you!

Your friend and fan from Los Angeles!

Unknown said...

Chef John, have you tried using freeze-dried cauliflower? I don't know how the cooking process would change, but there must be some way to start out with dry cauliflower and skip the wringing step. (For the pizza...)

Unknown said...

Chef John, have you tried using freeze-dried cauliflower? I have no idea how the cooking process would change, but there must be some way to start out with dry cauliflower and skip the wringing step. (For the pizza...)

Angela said...

love this video. We have all had ideas that didn't end up the way we thought they would.
I amgoing to try this any way.

Unknown said...

Chef how about adding rutabagas or radishes, or both?

Chris D said...

Hi, Chef,

I've been watching your videos with interest and pleasure for over a year. I had to comment on this one - I made a batch of Cauliflower Mini-Muffins last year for a potluck - people on the Interweb were mad for them, and they were similarly labor-intensive to make. To say they were a tremendous disappointment is an understatement - they were undelicious. Though they were unpopular at the gathering, I did find something that redeemed them (after unsuccessfully trying a variety of dips and sauces) - but what isn't delicious with creamy Boursin cheese? So they were consumed - but will never darken my kitchen again. I will stick to yummy roasted cauliflower.