You may have heard of cauliflower "wings" being used as an easy way to lighten up breaded and fried chicken wings, but using cauliflower in this manner isn't limited to the bite-sized pieces of veggies — it works for other breaded chicken dishes, too. "Using cauliflower as the base for this 'Parmesan' recipe makes for a lighter weeknight meal that's still incredibly satisfying," assures recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse. "Just like chicken Parmesan, the cauliflower is breaded, pan-fried, topped with marinara and mozzarella, and baked until crisp and tender."
While the whole dish takes a little more than an hour to make, much of that time is spent in the oven, which leaves you to relax, drink a glass of wine, or work on making side dishes. And if you're concerned these cauliflower steaks won't be a popular switch for chicken, Rosenhouse emphasizes that the tender, fried, and baked cauliflower really is worth trying. "This is a dish that will please the whole family, whether they're veggie lovers or not."
Gather The Ingredients For Crispy Cauliflower Parmesan
Start by gathering together your ingredients. You'll need a whole cauliflower, of course. Then you'll need salt, pepper, garlic powder, all-purpose flour, eggs, panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, marinara sauce, mozzarella (it's up to you if you want to use sliced or shredded), and fresh basil.
Prep The Oven And Slice And Season The Cauliflower
When your ingredients are ready, it's time to get to work. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a serrated knife to slice the cauliflower into ¾ to 1-inch slices, leaving the stem and leaves on to help keep it together. "Cutting the cauliflower steaks can be tricky. They tend to want to break apart. I love the smaller pieces even more than the larger slices — they bake up extra tender and are perfect for snacking on while you finish getting dinner ready," says Rosenhouse.
Place the cauliflower slices onto one of the prepped baking sheets, then season them with salt and pepper on each side before sprinkling the garlic evenly over the top.
Set Up Your Dredging Station
With your cauliflower steaks cut and seasoned, you'll need to dredge them in breading. Place flour into one medium bowl. Crack the eggs into another bowl, and whisk until smooth. Mix to combine the panko and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan in a final bowl. Set the bowls out in a line to make it easy to transfer the cauliflower between the bowls.
Coat The Cauliflower Steaks
Coat both sides of each piece of cauliflower with flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dredge both sides in the eggs, then the panko before returning each piece to one of the baking sheets.
Fry The Cauliflower Steaks
Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the cauliflower in batches, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until browned. Add more oil as needed between each batch, allowing the fresh oil to heat up before adding more pieces of cauliflower. Transfer the browned cauliflower onto a clean baking sheet.
Top With Marinara Sauce And Mozzarella And Bake
Top each piece of cauliflower with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Pop the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until the cauliflower is tender and the cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Garnish And Serve
All that's left to do is plate the cauliflower Parmesan and sprinkle each piece with the remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
"Cauliflower Parmesan is best served hot out of the oven, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, and reheated until hot throughout (whether in the oven or on the stovetop)," Rosenhouse says. She also suggests serving the dish with a light salad, veggies like asparagus or mushrooms, or even a protein like roasted or grilled chicken.
Crispy Cauliflower Parmesan Recipe
Prep Time: 40mCook Time: 30mYield: 6 ServingsIngredients
1 head of cauliflower
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
¾ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup marinara sauce
8 ounces sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Use a serrated knife to carefully slice the cauliflower into ¾ to 1-inch slices, leaving the stem and leaves on to help keep it together. Save any pieces that fell apart (they'll still be delicious).
Transfer cauliflower slices and pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle evenly with garlic powder.
Prepare for dredging: Place flour into one medium bowl. Crack eggs into another bowl and whisk until smooth. Mix to combine panko and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan in a final bowl.
Coat both sides of each piece of cauliflower with flour, shaking off the excess, then egg, then panko; return each piece to the baking sheet.
Heat ¼ cup oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook cauliflower in batches, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until browned. Add oil as needed between each batch. Place browned cauliflower onto a clean baking sheet.
Top each piece with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Bake until cauliflower is tender and cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve hot, sprinkled with remaining Parmesan and basil.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.