Pan Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Marinara

All I can say is WOW! This might be the best cauliflower you will EVER eat. Tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, these parmesan-spiked florets are to-die-for! And there's a spicy marinara for dipping... So unique, so tender-crispy good, and so incredibly easy. Vegetarian and gluten-free friendly too.

I love this recipe! I realize cauliflower is top-of-mind these days; so I wanted to create a dish that incorporated the vegetable, but in a unique and fun way. This definitely checks those boxes.

And, it really IS easy to prepare. The whole head of cauliflower is quickly boiled before you batter and fry the florets. When you boil the whole head, it's much easier to cut the tender florets from the stalks without creating a massive mess! I don't know about you, but it seems every time I work with raw cauliflower, I find little white florets all over the floor and counter for days.

After the florets are boiled, they're quickly battered with and egg/milk mixture and then a flour/cheese mixture. For a gluten-free version, you can use oat flour. Last step: pan-frying in olive oil. Each step is simple and quick, and the result is the best cauliflower on earth.

Pan Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Marinara 

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour (or ground oat flour for a gluten-free version)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, or more if needed
1 cups tomato sauce, from a carton or can
1 teaspoon chipotle or ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the whole head of cauliflower (don't separate into florets yet) and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Set the pan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes (or until you're ready to serve).
Drain the cauliflower and, when cool enough to handle, separate the head into florets; cut the larger florets in half.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate shallow dish, combine the flour and parmesan cheese. Season the egg mixture and the flour mixture with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Dip the cauliflower florets into the egg mixture and turn to coat. Transfer the florets to the flour mixture and turn to coat. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (you should have about 1/2-inch of oil in the pan; if not, add more). 
Working in batches (so you don't overcrowd the pan) fry the cauliflower in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides. For the best results, allow the florets to cook for a least 1 to 2 minutes per side, without disturbing them, until that side is golden brown. Use tongs to gently flip the florets. 
Transfer the cooked cauliflower to paper towels while you finish frying all the florets.
Serve the cauliflower with the spicy marinara sauce on the side. 
Serves 4-6