I know House of Cards is an old name on the awards circuit, and it wasn't a favorite to win at the SAG awards, but how damn good do those ribs look every time Francis goes to his former favorite spot?! Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright were both nominated, so I thought a veggie version of the politician's favorite DC eats would be a good way to enjoy my favorite awards show. Food from a political show felt right on this particular night, anyway.
I wanted everything to be "authentic" besides the fact that it wasn't on the meat, so I did a little experiment/surgery to get the final product. I took a ribs rub + sauce recipe and used a barbecue cauliflower recipe to make sure I cooked it correctly. Because there was no meat to "rub" and marinate, I incorporated the rub ingredients into the breading of the cauliflower to try to achieve the layered flavor that would come with putting the sauce on marinated meat. I've made buffalo cauliflower, but this was a nice change. Also, something I learned from making the sauce was that BBQ sauce is basically a super condiment made up of a bunch of other condiments. Fun fact!
inspired by House of Cards, several episodes
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 3 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tsp ground cumin
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut cauliflower into florets. In a large bowl, toss the florets with flour. Combine panko bread crumbs with brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and ground cumin in a medium bowl. Whisk or stir together until well mixed and the spices will be evenly distributed once the cauliflower is breaded.
Set up your station to dredge and prepare the cauliflower to bake. Dip flour-covered florets in egg and toss in panko-spice mixture so it is fully coated. Place breaded floret onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake until the breading is golden and crispy, but the cauliflower is tender. Remove from oven and coat in sauce. Serve immediately.
recipe adapted from delish.com.
While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the sauce.
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup whiskey (confession: I used brandy because I had it and after much Googling and mom consulting, turns out it was fine!!!)
- 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup honey
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
In a medium to large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, just a couple of minutes. Stir in the paprika, whiskey and vinegar. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Stir in broth, ketchup, honey, worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and stir often to prevent burning for about 30 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Don't reduce the heat too low, or the sauce will take much longer to cook. Be patient! Wait until the sauce is thick and has taken on the darker brown color like you see in bottled sauces. The sauce will be much less flavorful if you cut this process short!
Once you have that sauce-y look, remove from heat. Pour over cooked cauliflower or toss in a bowl. There will likely be extra you can save for dipping or future BBQ recipes!
recipe adapted from pepper.ph.
[cooked while watching the SAG red carpet and a little bit of the awards because I was running very late!!!]