Cauliflower and leek croquettes with smoked paprika aioli

Jody says: “Making your own aioli is no more hassle than rustling up a sandwich”

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Recipe by: Jody Spencer


  • ½ small cauliflower
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100g butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp English mustard
  • 1.25l hot vegetable stock
  • Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1l vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g breadcrumbs

For the aioli

  • 1 garlic clove (use smoked garlic if available)
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 200ml light olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and cut into bite-sized florets. Place in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for three minutes, then drain.
  2. Trim and finely slice then wash the leek. Heat 1tbsp oil and the butter in a saucepan. Gently cook the leek for 5 minutes until soft. Add the flour, nutmeg and mustard and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir often to prevent the flour burning.
  3. Add the hot vegetable stock, stir until smooth, then add the chopped parsley and cauliflower. Once the mixture has thickened to the consistency of soft mashed potato, remove from the heat and spread it out on a baking tray. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge to firm. 
  4. To make the aioli, peel the garlic clove and place in a food processor with the egg and extra yolk. Blitz. With the motor still running, slowly add 200ml of olive oil. (You may need to add a splash of water to thin it down if it becomes too thick.) Add the paprika, season with salt and pepper and pulse until combined.
  5. Remove the croquette mixture from the fridge. Shape into quenelles using two large dessertspoons.
  6. Heat the litre of vegetable oil to 180°C.
  7. Lightly beat the two eggs together in a bowl. Tip the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl. Dip each quenelle into the beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. 
  8. Fry in the hot oil until golden and crisp all over. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and serve with the aioli.

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