Food & Drink

Cauliflower Power

With help of herby chermoula, this fried brassica starter fully realizes the flavors of fall

Squash tends to get the starring role in fall spreads, but supporting players like cauliflower—which grows best this time of year—can steal the show when given the right part. Take, for example, this fried cauliflower and chermoula from Sam Davis, the executive chef at the Garden & Gun Club at the Battery Atlanta. A perfect choice for your next autumnal gathering, the fried vegetable is brightened with an herbaceous dip that nods to Davis’s African heritage.

It takes next to no time to prepare. For the chermoula, a veritable garden of fresh herbs and a brief pulse in a food processor with a sprinkle of orange juice and oil will deliver a verdant dressing. And for crunch, break down a head of white cauliflower and prepare a canola bath. Once it’s fried to a nice brown, set it aside on a paper towel, then plate this unsung seasonal hero for a satisfying appetizer. 



    • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed to bite-sized pieces

    • 2 quarts canola oil

    • Chermoula (recipe follows)


    • 1 cup cilantro

    • 1 cup Italian parsley

    • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, sliced

    • 1 tsp. tarragon

    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled whole

    • 1 lemon

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • 1 lime

    • ½ cup mint

    • 1 tsp. ras el hanout

    • ¼ cup orange juice

    • 1 cup canola oil or olive oil


  1. Make the chermoula: Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Pulse until fine. Slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated.

  2. Make the fried cauliflower: Fill a 6-quart pot with canola oil and heat on medium-high until temperature reads 350°F.

  3. Working in batches, place cauliflower in oil and fry until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. 

  4. Remove cauliflower from oil and place in a mixing bowl. Season with a pinch of salt. Toss with chermoula. Serve.