How to Make It
Preheat oven to 200°F. Bring water and vinegar to a boil in a large saucepan over high. Add cauliflower, and cook until almost tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a wire rack on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in refrigerator, and chill until cool, about 15 minutes.
While cauliflower cools, heat a waffle iron to medium-high. Whisk together self-rising flour, cornmeal, whole milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Pour batter into waffle iron, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer cooked waffles to a wire rack on a baking sheet, and keep warm in preheated oven.
Pour oil in a medium Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium-high to 350°F. Whisk together all-purpose flour, black pepper, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl. Place chilled cauliflower in a separate medium bowl. Pour buttermilk over cauliflower, and toss to coat. Add coated cauliflower to flour mixture, and toss to coat. Fry in hot oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping, until golden and crisp, about 5minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Whisk together maple syrup and hot sauce in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH until warm, 15 to 20 seconds. Place 1 waffle on each of 4 plates; top evenly with fried cauliflower. Drizzle evenly with syrup mixture.