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Score Big on Gameday: Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches

August 29, 2018 , In: Eat, Recipes , With: No Comments
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Guys, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… FOOTBALL IS BACK! College Football starts this weekend! I’m so ready to have everyone over for the game and the gameday foods. Now, at first glance, this may seem like a recipe you’ve seen all over Pinterest, but it’s a new day and a new way! My love for watching football with gameday grub was the inspiration for this Buffalo Cauliflower Sammie. I call it the love child of buffalo cauliflower wings and cauliflower steaks. Topped with a dairy-free blue cheese spread and thinly sliced celery, you’ll want this one for your next game day!

buffalo cauliflower sandwiches... who knew?!

On Trend: Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

You’ve seen it before, cauliflower florets dunked in a light batter and baked before being tossed in buffalo sauce. I’ve even tried them before, sadly, with miserable results. The batter never seemed to get as crispy as I wanted it, and left me with a gummy, less than desirable, mess. They lacked flavor and truly did not remind me of the wing nights of years past. I moved on, deciding to retire the attempt to the garbage.

“Liiiightbulb!”

A few years ago I discovered cauliflower steaks and loved the whole experience. I especially enjoyed the Roasted Cauliflower dish at Schilling in NYC back in March of 2015. Now, roasting cauliflower florets and cauliflower halves is nothing new to me, but, I had yet to make it into a steak.

Since I’ve discovered cauliflower steaks, I’ve mostly been treating them just as I would a steak. Marinating them in balsamic vinaigrette and roasting in the oven is my favorite way to go… But, what if I treated it like chicken? How would that work? The wheels start turning until… “Bingo!”, a Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich! But… flashback to the failed buffalo cauliflower wings… No. This time would be different. This time, fry the cauliflower, dunk it in a standard wing sauce and throw it on a bun! But don’t let the appearance fool you, this sandwich is just as messy as it’s finger food cousin!

A Cut Above the Florets

I’ll be honest, cutting the cauliflower into steaks without it falling apart was not easy for me at first, but then I discovered a trick. Peel away the larger leaves, leaving the smaller leaves on the remaining stalk. Trim off one rounded side of the cauliflower, then, with the stalk side up, position your knife on the stalk to create about a 1/2-inch steak and cut through. It’s important to use the stalk and keep it intact as best as possible to keep the steak from falling apart! Once the steaks are cut, use a paring knife to cut away the smaller leaves. You can get 2-3 full steaks from each cauliflower, depending on its size, but don’t throw away those rounded ends! There are plenty of uses for them from Alfredo sauce to pizza crust!

Nope, not fried chicken! That's half of a fried buffalo cauliflower steak!

The Process

I’ve tried this a few ways, including soaking the steaks a day before. It’s not necessary though! Just set up a dredging station, slice the steaks and it’s off to the fryer. I kept it gluten free by using rice flour, a rice flour tempura batter, and gluten-free panko. (To keep it gluten-free, serve on gluten-free buns!) The steaks cook until golden brown and tender. After you drain them and season with salt it’s time to assemble! Typically 1 steak makes two sandwiches. Just cut it in half through the stalk so it stays intact, then it’ll fit perfectly on a bun. I add sliced celery and iceberg lettuce for the classic combo and bun protection! The spread is made with Daiya Blue Cheese Dressing and Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese. This helps to give the blue cheese flavor while adding substance to hold up to the size of the sandwich and keep it from running all over your plate. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, you could try replacing the dressing in the spread with ranch. Not a fan of too much heat? You could always opt for a BBQ sauce version.

You absolutely could do this process with florets too. Bigger ones you can cut the stem off and put on slider buns, or cut them smaller to make a delicious wrap or salad topping!

Score Big on Gameday with Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches

Yield: 4-6

Score Big on Gameday with Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of Cauliflower, cut into 3 steaks
  • 4 cups frying oil, this is approximate. You want about 2 inches of oil in your pan for frying.
    For Assembling Sammies:
  • Celery, thinly sliced on the bias
  • Hamburger style buns, lightly toasted
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Blue Cheese Spread *See Recipe Below
  • Extra Wing Sauce *Se Recipe Below
    For Dredge Station
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup Rice Flour (keep separate)
  • 1 cup Cold Water + 12 Ice Cubes (keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs (use gluten free panko to keep this recipe GF)
    For the Hot Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 6 TBSP Earth Balance Margarine
    For the Spread:
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Daiya Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/2 container of Kite Hill Ricotta
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

    For the Blue Cheese Spread:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of Daiya Blue Cheese Dressing with Kite Hill Ricotta and Pepper. Mix in more dressing as necessary to achieve a thick consistency that is similar to guacamole. Feel free to leave some chunks of ricotta, it mimics the chunkiness of blue cheese crumbles! Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the Buffalo Sauce:
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt together the Earth Balance and Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Stirring until combined. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and transfer to a plastic container.
  4. For the Tempura Batter:
  5. 2 Combine 1 cup rice flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and baking soda, in a medium mixing bowl. When ready to start frying, remove water from the fridge and mix into dry mix. Batter should be similar to pancake batter.
  6. 1 To Fry Cauliflower:
  7. In a pan with deep sides, slowly heat about 2 inches of neutral flavored oil over medium heat to 325° F.
  8. Setting up a standard dredging station:
  9. Fill one baking dish with 1/2 cup rice flour; Dredge cauliflower in rice flour, carefully shaking off the excess.
  10. Fill the next baking dish with the tempura batter. Carefully, dunk the cauliflower in batter, covering it completely. Let the excess drip off before moving to the next tray.
  11. Fill a third baking dish with panko breadcrumbs; coat the cauliflower in breading. Gently press the food into the breading, shaking off the excess.
  12. Carefully place cauliflower steaks in the 325°F oil and fry until golden brown, turning once or twice. Remove from oil with a spider strainer and allow to drain on a cooling rack set over paper towels. If making a few steaks, fry them in batches so the oil stays at 325°F.
  13. Cut steaks into even halves, cutting vertically through the stalk. Dunk the fried cauliflower in buffalo sauce (or drizzle the cauliflower with sauce).
  14. Build each sammie with a layer of iceberg lettuce between the bottom bun and the cauliflower, top with celery slices. Smear a thick layer of blue cheese spread on the top bun and cap off the sammie.
https://garnishedwithgratitude.com/buffalo-cauliflower-sandwiches/

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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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