Adapted from Luis Arce Mota’s inspiring menu at Ofrenda in Manhattan, the Coliflor Capeada (cauliflower fritters) at this cocina Mexicana involves meringue-battered cauliflower, sumptuous chipotle-tomato sauce, and cauliflower purée. Do try this at home and hang on to your cojones! Thank you Luis for sharing this exquisite recipe with me!
Coliflor Capeada (Cauliflower Fritters)
1 head of cauliflower
1 pound of tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons adobo (from can)
1 small Mexican bay leaf
½ cup tomato juice
4 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
½ stick butter
Canola oil for frying
Divide the cauliflower into 2 bunches of flowerets. Cook one of the bunches in boiling water until al dente (about 5 minutes). Drain, set aside and cool completely. Put the other bunch into a pan, cover with boiling water, add salt, bring to boil. Cook until it is very soft. Take the softened bunch, put into a blender with butter, make into a purée and season to taste. Put aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce as follows. Heat oil in a frying pan, add the sliced onion and after 2 minutes, add the tomatoes, 3 chipotle peppers, garlic and Mexican bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato juice and a little water and adjust seasoning if necessary. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Put whole mixture into blender, add 2 tablespoons adobo and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water to thin it.
Heat oil in frying pan to ¼ inch depth over low heat. While oil is being heated, beat the egg whites and salt together until soft peaks are formed. Gradually add the yolks and beat after each addition. Lightly cover one of the cauliflower flowerets with flour and dip into the batter until evenly covered. Carefully lower with spatula into the hot oil. Leave for a few seconds until the bottom of the batter is a deep golden color. Carefully turn over. Drain on paper.
To serve, place cauliflower purée in the middle of plate with 4 battered flowerets on top of the purée. Put in 350-degree oven for 3 minutes. Remove and cover with chipotle-tomato sauce and serve.
Originally published in Next magazine.