Last week I came across this recipe for Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. It is low-carb, gluten-free, and vegetarian-friendly.
We made them yesterday morning, and they were certainly better than "not bad". And for a guy who detested cauliflower until just a few years ago, that's high praise.
Here is the recipe (annotated, of course) with photos of our progress:
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
For the cauliflower “bread”
1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets (should yield approximately three cups of cauliflower rice)
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to grease
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten [we used a double-yolk egg]
1 oz grated Parmesan
1 oz grated comté, appenzeller, or mature cheddar cheese [We shredded some old cheddar cheese.]
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
For the grilled cheese
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
3 oz. comté and mature cheddar cheese
1 large pickled gherkin or jalapeño finely sliced (optional)
For the “bread”
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and liberally grease it with olive oil. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, rice the cauliflower florets until they are a fine crumb.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a low-medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice (about three cups) and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring continually or until soft. You want the water to evaporate as much as possible from the cauliflower without developing color. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry, otherwise you’ll end up with mushy dough. We did this for over 20 minutes, and there was still steam rising from the frying pan. We could probably have done it even longer.
5. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl, add egg, Parmesan, comté, salt, and mix well. We grated some old cheddar cheese and used grated Parmesan from a can:
Here is the mixed batter:
then spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and shape into four bread squares.
Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of the cauliflower bread and place the buttered side down on the pan.
2. Cover the bread liberally with your chosen cheese, plus gherkin or jalapeño (if using) and top with the remaining slice of cauliflower bread, buttered side up.
I like what I call white "plastic" cheese --- processed slices; Ms Eclectic prefers havarti/jalapeno cheese slices. We used a LOT of cheese for each sandwich, and next time we might use even more.
The cauliflower "bread" mixture actually held together like bread for awhile:
But in the end we decided to use a knife and fork.
Next time we will probably cook the cauliflower rice a bit longer to get rid of even more moisture from it, we might bake the cauliflower bread a tad longer, and we might let it cool longer before grilling the sandwiches.
Also we would likely consider eating them with ketchup or salsa, and we might even put pepper into the bread mixture. Alternatively, we would seriously consider using pre-shredded Tex-Mex cheese in the "bread" batter.
Overall, it was a fun but terribly inefficient process. It probably took us over an hour and a half to make these. That's a lot of work and time for just two sandwiches. But it was fun, they were pretty tasty, and they are on the Atkins diet.