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Perfect match: cauliflower fritters with chardonnay

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for cauliflower, aged Cheddar and mustard fritters.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 35
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 55 mins cooking plus cooling
Cauliflower, aged Cheddar and mustard fritters
Cauliflower, aged Cheddar and mustard fritters

Over the past few years we have witnessed the most remarkable change in premium Australian chardonnay. Gone are the days when every winemaker chased the fat, golden, oak-lavished chardonnay style (remember Rosemount Roxburgh? Remember Renmano Chairmans Selection?). Now the pendulum has swung right over to the opposite extreme: it's now de rigeur in chardonnay circles to pick the grapes much earlier, to ferment and mature the wine in old oak barrels and to prevent the malolactic fermentation - the microbiological process that can produce creamy, buttery characters in white wines. While this newer trend towards leaner, lighter, more minerally chardonnays is generally a good one - the wines have a brightness and refreshing quality to them that the golden oldies often lacked - the new-wave wines sometimes come unstuck when it comes time to eat. Yes, they're great with seafood (especially shellfish and oysters and mussels and yabbies), but their leanness means that richer, fuller dishes can overwhelm the wine. So for this deliciously savoury recipe, full of the roundness of cauliflower and cheese and mustard, I'd opt for a slightly more old-fashioned, fuller-bodied chardonnay. Luckily, there are still a few souls sticking to the old style, not getting sucked into the modern trend, keeping the flame alive.

Max Allen says this cheesy autumn snack calls for an older fashioned style of Australian chardonnay.

Ingredients

  • 500 gm cauliflower (about ½ large cauliflower), coarsely chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 200 ml milk
  • 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 100 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 gm aged Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil

Method

Main
  • 1
    Prehat oven to 180C. Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil, sprinkle with half the rosemary, season to taste and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden and very tender (40-45 minutes). Set aside to cool, then process in a food processor until smooth.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring milk and butter to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, whisk in flour, then beat until mixture is smooth and comes away from the edges of the pan (2-3 minutes). Cool slightly, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to combine, then set aside to cool completely. Fold in cheese, mustard and cauliflower purée and season to taste.
  • 3
    Combine lemon rind, sea salt flakes and remaining rosemary in a bowl and set aside.
  • 4
    Heat oil in a frying pan or deep-fryer to 170C. Roll tablespoons of cauliflower mixture into balls, dust in flour and fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, scatter with rosemary salt and serve hot.

Notes

Drink suggestion by Max Allen