December 14, 2020
Chef Aaron Sanchez shares his coveted Cauliflower taco recipe during an exclusive CiTi Taste of Tennis event with celebrity tennis player, Venus Williams. This ones for our vegetarians – this crave-worthy, complex, and crushable tequila-spiked taco is the perfect way to elevate your taco Tuesday rituals.
½ cup (120 ml) lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup (50 g) flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained; reserve 1 tablespoon caper brine
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) grapeseed oil
3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
½ cup (120 g) mayonnaise
2 quarts (2 L) canola or vegetable oil for frying
2 cups (320 g) rice flour
1 cup (130 g) cornstarch
2 cups (480 ml) club soda, divided
3 tablespoons silver tequila
1 whole head cauliflower, cut into florets (halve or quarter any very large pieces)
12 small corn tortillas
1 cup (95 g) queso fresco, shredded
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Make the pickled jalapeños: In a nonreactive cup, combine the lime juice and sugar with 1 teaspoon salt. Reserve half a jalapeño for the chimichurri and thinly slice the rest. Stir into the lime juice (weight down with a small bowl if they won’t stay submerged) and set aside for 1 hour.
Make the chimichurri: In a food processor, combine the cilantro, green onions, parsley, reserved jalapeño, garlic, vinegar, capers and brine, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until the herbs are finely, evenly chopped; while the processor is running, stream in the olive oil and grapeseed oil. Transfer to a large bowl.
Make the chipotle mayo: Stir the chipotles into the mayonnaise.
Pour the canola oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot (it should be at least 3 inches/7.5 cm deep) and clip a thermometer to the side. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or a wire rack. Bring the oil to 375°F (190°C) over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, with a wire whisk, mix the rice flour, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in half the club soda along with the tequila, then gradually add more club soda until the batter is pourable but not runny; you might not need the full amount.
Dredge the cauliflower florets in the batter. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pot, fry the florets until crispy and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer them to the lined plate and season immediately with a bit of salt.
Toss the fried cauliflower in the chimichurri. To toast the tortillas, set them directly over a gas burner on medium heat, watching closely to make sure they blister in places but don’t burn. Smear with the spicy mayonnaise, fill with cauliflower, and garnish with the pickled jalapeños, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime.