Cauliflower with crispy crumbs

The crispy golden topping in this simple side dish is usually made by frying the breadcrumbs in a generous quantity of butter. This version uses a modest portion of olive oil and fresh herbs to flavour a topping that tastes good with all steamed or boiled vegetables.

Cauliflower with crispy crumbs


  • 1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1¼ cups (100 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat–leaf parsley
  • sprigs of fresh herbs to serve (optional)


  1. Prepare a saucepan of boiling water with a steamer on top.
  2. Steam the cauliflower for about 15 minutes or until tender but not soft.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non–stick frying pan or saucepan.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs and stir well to coat the crumbs as evenly as possible with oil.
  5. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the crumbs are well browned and crisp.
  6. As the crumbs cook, the oil will seep out of those that absorbed it initially, allowing the rest to become evenly crisp.
  7. Transfer the cauliflower to a warm serving dish.
  8. Season the crumbs to taste and mix in the thyme, tarragon and parsley.
  9. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the cauliflower.
  10. Garnish with sprigs of herbs, if using, and serve.

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes


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