Cauliflower from a Culinary Super Power

I am fortunate to be lifelong friends with two women (Susie and Connie Banko), a mother and daughter who are fabulous Italian cooks.  I truly believe the Italians are the original slow food people, sharing both the food and the love of breaking bread together; believe me when I tell you that if you’re throwing a party, you want to have one (or both!) of these two women helping you with the food.  Connie happens to be one of my mother’s oldest and best friends, so when she and Susie are at my mother’s home in Provincetown, we are often treated to amazing food cooked by them.

I got my hands on this “recipe” (using the term loosely, as there are no real measurements…), which was passed down to Susie by her uncle, Connie’s brother Sal DelDeo of the original “Ciro & Sal’s Restaurant” and later “Sal’s” in Provincetown.

I was pleased at how well it turned out, especially with the loosey-goosey nature of the recipe!  And the parsley plant moved inside right before the frost!

Salvatore’s Cauliflower Fritters

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped up and separated into “manageable” pieces.
  • Chopped fresh parsley, about 2-3 Tablespoons.
  • Grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, about ½ Cup or more. (I always use Romano because I like it the best!)
  • 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped finely.
  • 2-3 eggs. (I had a big head of cauliflower, so I used 3 eggs.)
  • A mixture of flour and cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper (I ended up using about a full cup each of flour and cornmeal).  Make sure to add enough salt.

Set a large pot of salted water on high heat.  When boiling, add the cauliflower pieces and then test for doneness with a fork after about 7 minutes, depending upon how small your pieces are (I left mine big enough that I could dig in with the fork).  You want it soft, but not falling apart.

Drain the cauliflower and place into a wooden bowl, after chopping further into small enough pieces for the fritters.

Mix together the parsley, cheese, garlic, eggs and flour mixture.

Add the chopped cauliflower and then flour your hands before making the patties.  I ended up adding more flour mixture than I originally started with so that the mixture would bind together.  The ratio between the liquid (eggs) and dry (flour and cornmeal or breadcrumbs) will be something you have to play with.

Place a good coating of olive oil into a heavy frying pan, heat over a medium-high flame and cook each cake until golden brown on each side.

Put the cooked patties on a warming pan or plate and keep in low oven until ready to serve.

Since my husband and I both like hot sauce, we put some hot sauce on ours, but honestly I liked mine better plain!

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad with Harissa and Lemon

I had quite a bit of leftover cauliflower, so I made a salad prepared with some harissa ( a Middle Eastern spicy puree that I purchased at the Atlantic Spice Company in Truro), sweet potato, lemon juice, onion and cilantro.  This came out quite good as well.

  • Steamed Cauliflower, about 1 ½ cups.
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 “ cubes, and then steamed until fork-tender.
  • ¼ Cup fresh lemon juice, plus some lemon zest.
  • 1 garlic clove, minced.
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared harissa.
  • 2 teaspoons honey.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • ½ Cup chopped red onion.
  • ½ Cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Place a saucepan with about 2 inches of water on high heat, covered.

Put the chopped sweet potato into a steamer basket and place into the pan once the water is boiling; steam for about 4 minutes and then add the cauliflower and steam for about 6 minutes more.

Once both veggies are done, drain and place them on a baking sheet to cool, sprinkling with 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix remaining lemon juice, garlic, harissa, honey, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk in the olive oil.

Place the cauliflower and sweet potatoes in a large bowl, add red onion and cilantro and then some lemon zest and pour the dressing over, testing for more salt, pepper or cilantro to taste.

It’s nice at room temperature.  Next time I’ll attempt to make my own harissa!

Katherine Rossmoore is a health and wellness coach, food lover, yoga teacher and writer.  Find her at or “like” her on Facebook Better Living Through Foods Health Coaching.


About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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5 Responses to Cauliflower from a Culinary Super Power

  1. Amy Germain says:

    Yum! Just when I need inspiration – foodie or otherwise.

  2. Cari says:

    I can’t wait to try the recipes, especially the fritters. Thanks!!!

  3. Roberta says:

    …just the inspiration I needed! Thanks! LOOK at those colors! One of the great joys of the season…

  4. Thanks to my dear dear friend Susie for giving me that recipe!

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