Catherine's Catch! Crispy Caulifish & Chips

These are the bomb diggity... the #bombcyclone even! They are crispy, flavorful, healthful and delicious!

Deciding to forego farm-raised and unsustainable seafoods, as well as unhealthy fried foods (most of the time!) created a void that I needed (yes, needed) to fill. Like that mosquito hovering just out of reach, I couldn't let go of the idea there had to be a plant-based version of fish 'n chips that would satisfy this craving. One that would not be fried, or produced in a factory, has easy to procure and affordable ingredients... and, most importantly, TASTED GREAT!

Well, I did it! Family approved ~ with rainbow slaw and tartar sauce even. I mean, just look at all that crunchy, golden goodness! Plus, cauliflower is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and phosphorus; and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C, K, and B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese. You can read more here.

OK, Let's do this!

Total Time: 60 minutes Prep Time: 25 minutes Bake Time: 30-35 minutes PRINT HERE

Here's what you need for 4 servings:

4-5 medium russet potatoes

1 medium head of cauliflower

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 lemon, juice and zest

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup whole wheat panko*

1/2 cup corn meal

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut**

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

* I read that crushed Rice Chex cereal can be used as a healthy, gluten-free alternative to panko crumbs but I have not tested this theory.

** I used Bob's Red Mill unsweetened coconut that comes in large flakes. I put the amount needed in a bag and pounded it up to make the pieces a bit smaller. I recommend doing this in a spice grinder or dry blender, which is what I will do the next time. You don't want to pulverize them, just break them down into smaller pieces.

The Process:

1. Wash and dry the potatoes. Set aside.

2. Wash and dry the cauliflower; cut off enough of the bottom stem (stalk side) so it will sit flat on your cutting board. Starting on one side, slice into half inch slabs until you reach the center. Rotate and do the same for each side.

3. This is what the center will look like when you are done (photo below). Save the core for another use (it's great sliced up and dipped in sauce, cubed into soup, or diced into pasta).

4. In one shallow dish, combine the coconut milk, lemon juice, zest and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.

5. In another shallow dish, combine the panko, cornmeal, unsweetened coconut and the rest of the spices. Set aside.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. Slice the potatoes into 1/3 inch rounds, place onto absorbent towel and blot dry. Fill one of the baking sheets with the potatoes in a single layer. In the photo above, I coated the potatoes on the left side with olive oil and left the right side oil-free. Both sides were sprinkled with salt and black pepper just before going into the oven. As long as a sauce is available for dipping, the oil-free coins are delicious. Many of them actually puffed up a bit like pillows while baking. The oiled ones did not.

8. For the cauliflower, set up the coating station like this: cauliflower > dry mixture > wet mixture > parchment-lined baking sheet. My counter was not quite long enough to do this, so I used the formation above.

9. Using only your right hand (left if you're left-handed), take two or three pieces of the cauliflower and dunk them in the wet mixture. Thoroughly coat each side. Allow excess to drip off, then coat them in the dry mixture. Again, use your right hand to ensure each side is coated, patting the mixture into place. Gently shake off any excess. Use your clean hand to spark up some tunes and get into a groove. Continue until all pieces have been coated. This really doesn't take long! Any small pieces that break off or come apart can be saved for nibbles later.

10. Place one sheet pan on the lower rack and the other just above. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pans and flip the veg (both potatoes and cauliflower) and bake another 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and dig in! Serve with my Tangy Vegan Tartar Sauce, malt vinegar and my Rainbow Slaw with Sweet & Sour Dressing.


1. I thought the color and texture of the baked cauliflower closely resembled that of flaky white fish, but the flavor was not that of fish ~ delicious all the same. I'd love to know what you think!

2. The use of the coconut is what allows for the coating to get crispy without the use of any oil.

3. For future experiments, I might warm the wet mixture and steep a few strips of nori in it for a few minutes and then strain. This might add just a touch of the missing fish aroma and flavor - although I don't personally think this is necessary.

Nutrition information is for 1/4 of the potato coins and caulifish pieces.

This recipe is adapted from Veggie Inspired.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.

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