Some people think that because I grew up in Buffalo that I am used to the snow and cold, and that it shouldn’t bother me.
When in actuality my patience for such things ran out by the time I was 8, and by 18 I knew that though I had the most wonderful family Buffalo just wasn’t for me.
Now there are redeeming aspects about growing up in Buffalo; good people, good community and of course some good Buffalo Wings.
Buffalo wings are the hot and spicy food that help Buffalonians plow through winters. A wing right out of the fryer almost makes you forget about the 13 feet of snow piling up around your house. Well almost.
I didn’t appreciate this hometown favorite until about 24, it took me a while to understand that there is an addicting quality to the combination of hot sauce and butter. The love affair had begun.
To me, the best part about a Buffalo Wing is that you can take the sauce and put it on almost everything.
In this recipe I am taking a cauliflower steak (just a big piece from the center of the head of cauliflower, so that it stays together) cutting it to burger size, dredging in buttermilk then rice flour, baking, basting with buffalo sauce and then baking again and serving it with bacon and blue cheese.
Because the cauliflower is such a mild vegetable with a hearty but not too dense texture it is the perfect vegetable to be transformed into a burger.
Maybe Buffalo will someday be known for the Buffalo Cauliflower Burger instead of the Buffalo Wing, maybe…
Buffalo Cauliflower Burgers
servings: 4 Burgers
- 2 small heads cauliflower (about 1lb each)– sliced vertically 1” thick
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ and ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ½ cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 8 slices bacon
- 4 hamburger buns
- 8 leaves Boston bib lettuce
- 2 ounces Danish blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 450°F. If there are any leaves attached to the cauliflower heads, remove them but leave the stems intact. Cut each cauliflower in half vertically; then cut a 1-inch-thick “steak” from the flat side of each half. Save the rest of each head for another use.
- Place the cut pieces of cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce into the buttermilk and pour over the cauliflower steaks, let sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Mix the rice flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper in a medium bowl and place next to the bowl with the buttermilk and cauliflower.
- One at a time, remove the cauliflower from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off; then dip each slice into the flour, making sure to coat all sides and tapping off any excess. Lay the coated slices on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through so that each side is equally cooked.
- Meanwhile, place the butter, remaining hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the Buffalo sauce comes together—for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the cauliflower and brush the top portions with the buffalo sauce. Return to the oven and continue to bake until golden brown – 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning once, until crispy – about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to remove any excess grease.
- To assemble the sandwiches, brush each cauliflower slice with additional buffalo sauce and place on the bottom portion of the bun. Top each sandwich with the crumbled blue cheese, then with the lettuce, and finally with bacon, dividing everything equally. Put the top bun on each sandwich and enjoy!