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Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Jason Santos' Smashed Meatloaf Sliders, Buffalo Cauliflower + Jyll Everman's Beer Brat Reuben Sliders, Beer Brat Pigs in a Blanket with Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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(8 rated)
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I love this recipe because it's a simple upgrade to the usual tailgating finger food. You still get the spicy flavor, crispy crunch and creamy sauce you want from a wing, but with a healthier twist.


  • Red jalapeño vinaigrette

    • 2 red jalapeños, stems removed
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) chili oil
    • 1/2 cup lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Pickled shallots

    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Garlic goat cheese

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup minced garlic
    • 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cauliflower

    • Vegetable oil, for frying
    • 2 cups cauliflower florets, blanched
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 cup cornstarch
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Red jalapeño vinaigrette, to taste (recipe above)
  • To serve

    • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
    • Picked shallots (recipe above)
    • Fresh chervil sprigs


For the red jalapeño vinaigrette:

In a blender puree all ingredients until liquified. For the pickled shallots: Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil then pour over shallots and let sit for at least 1 hour.

For the garlic goat cheese:

1. In a small pan add oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is crispy but not burnt.

2. In a small bowl or stand mixer whip together the garlic and oil with the remainder of the ingredients until light and airy.

3. Season with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

For the cauliflower:

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot, with about 3 inches of oil, to 350 F.

2. Coat cauliflower in buttermilk then dredge in cornstarch and lightly fry until crispy about 2-3 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper and then toss in some of the chili oil to coat.

To serve:

Smear a plate or platter with whipped goat cheese then arrange the fried cauliflower on top. Drizzle some extra jalapeño vinaigrette around the plate then garnish with pickled shallots, crushed peppercorns and chervil sprigs.

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Tailgating food: Make meatloaf sliders and Reuben brats

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