Monday, August 24, 2020

Cauliflower balls and feeling nostalgic

Bolinhos de couve-flor / Cauliflower balls

I have been feeling nostalgic lately, thinking of my mom a lot. Some ingredients and foods remind me of her so much, it is impossible not to think of her and of some moments of my childhood. Cauliflower, for instance, is something that immediately takes me back to the past, it is as if I could almost hear my mom telling me “eat the little trees, my dear, for they are very good for you”. Cauliflower, to me, will always be “little trees”.

As much as I love these little trees, I’ll admit that sometimes they need a little push when it comes to flavor: cauliflower can be pretty bland depending on how it is prepared. It is not the case with these balls: they are delicious! Very flavorful, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.

I served these balls as part of a meal with rice, beans and cooked kale, but they would be wonderful to nibble on with a cold beer. By the way, I recommend adding a few drops of Tabasco to the balls when eating them – they taste even better.


Cauliflower balls

own recipe, inspired by these lentil patties


400g cauliflower, cut into florets – a little more than ½ small cauliflower


½ small onion, finely diced

1 egg, room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves

½ tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup finely grated parmesan

¾ cup breadcrumbs – I used homemade

freshly ground black pepper


Place the cauliflower in a large saucepan and cover with water. Heat over high heat and when the water starts to boil, add a pinch of salt and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, then refresh under cold water until cauliflower is cool. Drain again and chop finely. Transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then brush with olive oil

Add all the remaining ingredients to the chopped cauliflower and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. With a handheld mixer, process half the mixture (use a food processor if you don’t have a mixer). Stir well, then shape small balls with your hands using 1 ½ leveled tablespoons per ball. Place the balls into the prepared pan leaving 2.5cm (1in) between them. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the balls. Bake for another 15 minutes and serve.

Makes about 22 – we ate half of the balls on the day I made them, and I froze the rest for some other time

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