The whole cauliflower rice thing has never resonated with me. Given that I am a rice whore (am I allowed to say that?), the thought of replacing rice with a vegetable is sacrilegious. People who want to enjoy something that is normally carb heavy without the starch sing its praises so I can't knock it till I try it. Someday I may submit because with most foods I'm willing to try it at least once.
In the cauliflower rice vain, I decided to make something using the same technique because while I'm not one to try and replace a comfort food with a healthy food, I have no qualms about using a healthy food to make comfort food :) Blitzing cauliflower until it resembles tiny grains allows you to cook it faster and not have to crunch into a giant mouthful of vegetable. And in our household, anything called a pancake or fritter is an automatic win.
While the cauliflower is kind of awesome all ground up, it's the smoked cheddar that's the star of the dish. Over the course of testing, every time I made a batch there were lots of "that smells really good" and "it smells like bacon" comments. Now I want to add smoked cheddar to everything and see what happens.
CAULIFLOWER and SMOKED CHEDDAR PANCAKES
makes roughly 20 cakes
2 lb cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small onion, about 3 oz
1/2 cup oat flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
several grinds of black pepper
6 oz smoke cheddar, grated
1 Tbs olive oil
Vegetable oil for frying
Labneh, greek your or sour cream
Finely chopped chives
Blitz the cauliflower and onion in a food processor until the cauliflower is broken into small grains. You may have to do this in two batches. Alternatively, you can grate the cauliflower and onion.
Place the mixture in a tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze it until you can't squeeze anymore. You want to extract as much liquid as possible.
Transfer this to a large bowl and add the oat or ap flour, salt and pepper, smoked cheddar, eggs and olive oil and mix until just combined.
Heat a large cast iron skillet with 2 Tbs vegetable oil on medium heat until hot.
Scoop about 1/4 cup of the mixture, form into a pancake and fry roughly 2 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and repeat with the rest of the mixture, wiping out the skillet and adding 2 Tbs of oil each time.
To serve, garnish with labneh and chives.
These pancakes are best served hot. They are easily made ahead and re-crisped in a hot oven.