pastéis by Megan Melling.jpg

Cauliflower tots

In Portugal we have a very famous cod cake, called “pastel de bacalhau”, made with mashed potato, slithered cod and parsley, and deep fried. Absolutely amazing.

And this recipe is inspired by it, but with a few twists: veggie version, no potato, and no deep frying.

For the cauliflower tots:
▪ 400 grams cauliflower
▪ ½ onion
▪ 2 big garlic cloves
▪ Chopped parsley
▪ 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
▪ 1 egg
▪ Salt to taste
▪ Ground pepper to taste
▪ Paprika to taste

For the yoghurt dip:
▪ 3 teaspoons natural sugarless yoghurt
▪ 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
▪ 2 chopped up leaves of coriander
▪ 2 chopped up leaves of fresh mint
▪ Orange or lemon zest

Separate the cauliflower heads from the stem and vapour cook for 15 minutes. Cut into cubes.

Chop the onion and the garlic and mix with the cauliflower and remaining ingredients until it becomes homogenous.

Let rest in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, mixing ever so often. This phase is very important because the cauliflower is very sensitive, besides it helps the flour to hydrate the liquid from the egg and also gives more stucture to the mix.

After the resting period, pre-heat your oven to 180°C and prepare a pan with parchment paper and slightly grease it with olive oil (yet again, the high sensitivity of the cauliflower and the presence of egg makes it highly sticky while baking).

Form the tots with two spoons so they get a semi oval shape (this is called a quenelle by the way) and gently lay on the baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning them over mid baking.

For the yoghurt sauce, mince the herbs and mix with the remaining ingredients. Don’t forget to taste and adjust seasoning.

By Megan Melling

Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started in 2011 when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Estoril. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She has worked as a cook in Lisbon for the past year and is currently in the process of opening up a gourmet project in Lagos. Check out all of her personal recipes on her blog and facebook page Mel’s Vittles for some yummy photos and food facts.