This recipe comes from to us from renown Chef Joe Hou of Angler, Le Fantastique, Bird Dog, Per Se in NYC and, currently, the new Line Hotel restaurant Tenderheart in San Francisco.
“The Salt and Pepper Chicken wings inspire this Salt and Pepper Cauliflower found locally at Capital Restaurant here in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The wings manage to maintain a crispy (even when cold), peppery, borderline salty flavor with bits of heat from the jalapeno pieces, making it a favorite. I loved this dish so much but wanted to get creative with my version; the texture of fried cauliflower is so great, and there is something hilariously taboo about frying a vegetable- even more so making this dish vegan.”
- 1 head of White Cauliflower (or whatever color you can get)
For the Brine
- 2 1/8 cup Water
- 1/8 cup Salt
- Directions: Combine until homogenous
For the Batter
- 3 ¾ cup AP Flour
- 1 ¾ cup Cornstarch
- 1 ¼ tsp Baking Powder
- Seltzer Water
- Directions: Combine all dried ingredients, then hydrate with Seltzer water. Mixing with your hands, you want the consistency of a thin batter. The thinner the batter, the lighter it will taste.
For the Salt and Pepper Mix
- ½ cup Salt
- 1 ½ tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp White Pepper
- Directions: Toast your black peppercorns and white peppercorn separately. Grind until fine, mix with the salt and pepper until use
- 1 jalapeño
- ¾ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- ¼ cup Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- Directions: Filet the jalapeño and remove the inner white portion. Cut jalapeno to desired shape/strips. Combine sliced jalapeño, vinegar, sugar and salt into a pot, bring to a boil and cover. Remove from heat and let sit until cooled. Reserve until use.
- 2 ¼ cup Cashews
- 2 ¼ cup Water
- Directions: combine cashews and water in container and let sit overnight. After it has sat, load into a blender and blend until smooth. Season with lemon juice and salt to desired taste and reserve. If you want to be fancy, put the mixer in an ISI Canister and load with 1 No2 charger
- Cut the cauliflower florets off the top of your chosen brassica. You want even size pieces, about 1 inch if we are being empirical about this, or a bite size.
- Cut your Cauliflower or your chosen brassica. Soak the cauliflower in the brine mixture for 15 minutes. Once the 15-minute mark is reached, drain the brine water. Preheat a pot with oil to 375F. Once you are at the temperature, dip your cauliflower in the batter and immediately drop it into the oil. Agitate the cauliflower pieces so they do not stick and cook evenly and cook until golden brown delicious. Drain the cauliflower from the oil and immediately season with the salt and pepper mixture. Mount the cashew cream on the bottom of the plate, make an artistic pile of the cauliflower on top, and artfully place pickled jalapeno pieces all over to garnish, with tweezers, chopsticks, or your hands- depending on how many times you watched Chef’s Table.