Cauliflower with crispy crumbs

    25 min

    The crispy golden topping in this simple side dish is usually made by frying the breadcrumbs in a generous quantity of butter. This version uses a modest portion of olive oil and fresh herbs to flavour a topping that tastes good with all steamed or boiled vegetables, and contrasts particularly well with steamed cauliflower.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
    • Crispy crumb topping
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 100 g (3½ oz) fresh breadcrumbs
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • salt and pepper
    • sprigs of fresh herbs to garnish (optional)

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:25min 

    1. Prepare a saucepan of boiling water with a steamer on top. Steam the cauliflower for about 15 minutes or until tender but not soft.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan or saucepan. Add the breadcrumbs and stir well to coat the crumbs as evenly as possible with oil. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the crumbs are well browned and crisp. As the crumbs cook, the oil will seep out of those that absorbed it initially, allowing the rest to become evenly crisp.
    3. Transfer the cauliflower to a warm serving dish. Season the crumbs to taste and mix in the thyme, tarragon and parsley. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the cauliflower. Garnish with sprigs of herbs, if using, and serve.

    Some more ideas

    *The crumb topping also goes well with lightly cooked Brussels sprouts (boiled or steamed). Use chopped fresh sage or marjoram instead of the tarragon and add the grated zest of 1 lemon to the crumb mixture. Serve lemon wedges with the sprouts so that the juice can be squeezed over. *The crisp crumbs are delicious with hot beetroot. Use fresh sage instead of the tarragon and add the grated zest of 1 orange to the crumb mixture. To serve, thickly slice the freshly boiled beetroot, arrange overlapping on a serving platter, and sprinkle with the crumb mixture. Garnish with orange slices. This goes well with roast or grilled pork, gammon or sausages. *Celeriac is another vegetable that is enhanced by a crisp crumb topping. Cut the celeriac into small cubes, fingers or slices before cooking. For a delicate topping, Instead of the herbs listed in the main recipe use 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill. Celeriac garnished in this way is super with grilled, poached or baked white fish.

    Plus points

    *Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family of cruciferous vegetables. It contains sulphurous compounds thought to help protect against cancer. It also provides vitamin C and fibre. *The positive features of bread have often been overlooked, as it has quite unfairly gained a reputation for being fattening: it is what you put on the bread, not the bread itself, that can be fattening. Even white bread provides good amounts of dietary fibre, and by law it is fortified with vitamins and minerals, including B1 and calcium.

    Each serving provides

    C, folate, B1, B6, niacin

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