Mains, Recipes, Snacks
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Cauliflower-Crusted Baked Fish Nuggets / Kayra Allure

Everyone went to bed with the forewarning of a Siberian snowstorm and of closing of schools last night. It’s a privilege not having to walk to the bakery for the morning bread. If you’re crazy about fresh morning bread like me, you’d plan the hours of buying bread and never mind going out early in the morning to pick up bread. Whenever I think of fresh morning bread, I think of my Bordeaux time with my mentor, who buys bread 3 times a day and is very strict about the morning bread. Life is too short to eat bad bread, he says. Well, one can’t eat a whole loaf of baguette, though one easily can if one doesn’t hear the inner voice that nags you “Eat Healthy!”, but if you can’t finish it all, well, it’s a big food waste, which will be banned in Seattle from this year and which has been restricted in Korea for a long time. Most households have a dehydrator like this at home but in Turkey, they have street cats and dogs instead, and for me, more bread and butter pudding and French toast or turning into bread crumb.

In our apartment, there is a doorman who runs errands for basic items like bread, eggs, yogurt, newspapers, etc. We didn’t use his service when we first moved in because we weren’t sure if there was anyone else eating Halk Ekmek (govt.subsidised bread) and didn’t want to make him walk extra just for us. When Mr.O noticed Halk Ekmek in the basket of another unit, he started to put money in the bread bag instead of going out himself in the morning! I feel good when I start the morning with this sourdough bread, no other bread unless it’s real French or German of course.

When I have extra time, I prepare foods for the week, not like women who go shopping and get a pedicure or massage.

It seems like I’m going to eat a lot of cauliflower this week. At first, I was going to make Cauliflower Steak, but then, on such a cold day, I needed something heartier; eating only vegetables makes me hungry more quickly. Don’t you think? But the better excuse for this dish is because I made mayonnaise a few days ago, which we enjoyed a lot with sandwiches and grilled fish. Mr.O was surprised to see, first, that I made mayonnaise, second, that he’d never seen me eating mayonnaise before. Well, I DO love mayonnaise (do you remember French Pierrade?) and I only eat Kewpie style; if it’s light, it’s not mayonnaise!

When I was eating mayonnaise, I felt like having a pop-up for Pierrade at home before the winter ends. If you know what real mayonnaise tastes like before the time of pasteurized eggs and low fat, you’re one of the lucky ones. I suggest making it at home to anyone who winces at the word ‘mayonnaise’……

mayo

…. and try eating it with white fish that tastes bland on its own. Or make thick potato chips and dip them in mayonnaise as Belgians do, which reminds me of mussels…. this is a problem for a girl who has eaten so much around the world. Anyway, I think mayonnaise is a delicious condiment for cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus, etc. unless you’re an Australian, who dips cauliflower florets in Vegemite.

fish-bake-2

Though I’m smitten with bread and wheat, I sometimes go off wheat or carbs and devour in fat, lol. In fact, I got a medical checkup recently and was told my body lacks fat, OMG, sorry if you’re trying to lose weight. It must be the wine diet, which made Mr.O lose 20kg as well, but the truth is to eat natural food. I believe that our body is designed to get rid of extra fat as long as one eats real food and enjoys it.

I’d always made crumbed-fish with flour, semolina, nuts and the like, but never with veggies, but I enjoy eating baked fish with cauliflower puree, which I’d planned to make before I came up with this crazy idea, which turned out great. I can’t believe how many dishes I made out of one cauliflower by turning it into ‘flour’. I made two small pizza crusts and these fish nuggets, but there is still a bowl of it to be used to make another dish later, ah, and two chunks for steaks.  How well-organised am I? Only when my tummy is concerned….

fish-bake

Yes, these fish nuggets (slightly bigger than to be eligible for nuggets but still possible to eat with fingers) are not only baked but also bread crumb free. I put some of the cauliflower-flour into the baking dish and baked to dry out the liquid, in which process it’ll be cooked, so when fish is coated in it, it’ll brown nicely at the same time as the fish cooks.

fish-bake-4

If you think the greenish sauce is made of avocado because you see it in the background, you’ve been fooled, sorry! It’s Wasabi Mayo! I added a little touch of Cayenne pepper to the crumb mix, but since nuggets are all about dips, dips and dips after all. Lemon mayo for a faint heart and Wasabi mayo for a brave heart….. I’m a diplomatic cook. By the way, I love the julienne peeler I got recently, which is much better than a mandolin slicer for spontaneous use.

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Now all I have to do is to put the toppings on the cauliflower crust, which needs a bit of thinking, – but is mostly likely to be sliced veal steak from three nights ago- and bake. The house is all warmed up by the oven heat as well as the aromas of cheese and herbs…..

I just remembered that it’d go really nicely with Allure, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, which I drank accidentally in a restaurant with a Korean French lady and found in Milano Gourmet(sorry if you’re not living in Istanbul).

milano-gourmetAs I was finishing this post, we had the pizza for dinner and Mr.O says that it’s been one of the top 3 memorable dishes in 3 years and he couldn’t tell the crust was made of cauliflower until I told him. I am not happy…..:(

Cauliflower-crusted Fish Nuggets

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

2 fillets of white fish, cod, halibut, flathead,etc. 1 egg white 2 cups cauliflower crumb 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or hard cheese ( I used Turkish Gravyer) 1 garlic, minced 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper lemon zest freshly cracked black pepper and a little sea salt 1 tsp dried oregano For dips, mayonnaise, ailoi, wasabi mayo, chilli mayo, etc

1. Make cauliflower crumb by processing in a food processor and baking it at 170’c for 20 mins. 2. Cut the fish into desired but equal sizes. 3. When the cauliflower crumb has cooled, mix it with the egg white, cheese, and the seasonings. 4. Coat each fish piece with the crumb mixture and bake at 200’c for 15 mins.

NB: How to process the cauliflower can be found here.

You might also like Red Lentil Soup with Cauliflower Croutons and Lamb Roulade with Satay Sauced-Cauliflower.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Namie (I hope I spelt your name correctly). I just stumbled upon your blog after searching for “diverse food blogs” and I am already in love with your site. I have been playing around with cauliflower a lot in my kitchen lately and I really want to try using it as a “bread” crumb coating now. Thank you for sharing this recipe. You will most certainly know when I try out one of your recipes. Best wishes!

    • Hi Edlyn, thank you so much for your generous compliment. My food philosophy is also diverse, multicultural, natural, healthy, and let’s not forget creative. Indian cuisine is my primary inspiration as you’ve probably noticed on my blog. I love its aromas and its cooking methods that turn humble vegetables into sensational dishes. I’ll stay tuned in for your delicious recipes, too.

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