I looked at a cauliflower the other day and thought it looked voluptuous. That’s what January in the northern hemisphere will do to a person. Later on the cauliflower soup did look and taste voluptuous, robust, creamy, curvaceous and thick with garlicky croutons.
Before the big freeze in December we had a regal purple beauty in the backyard. It didn’t survive. I suppose this soup would be categorized as Slow Food, but it’s not at all a slow soup to make. Not much more than cauliflower going on and its flavor sings through each spoonful. Thirty to forty minutes start to finish. If there’s time, let it sit for another half hour or more to meld flavors and then have your way with it. With a fennel salad on the side and a taste of Lopez Island Ice Cream later on it was just the thing for a winter’s supper.
A Cauliflower Soup, 4 or 5 servings. Chop and sauté 2 or 3 shallots in butter and olive oil/ Add the florets of 1 large head of cauliflower, 1 quartered small potato and stir together for two or three minutes/ Add 4 – 5 cups liquid which can be a mix of water, chicken or vegetable stock/ Season with salt and pepper/ Put a lid on and let simmer until cauliflower is tender, 15 – 20 minutes/ Purée all of it in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender/ Return to pot, add a large handful of your favorite local cheese/ Stir into soup until blended/ Add ½ – 1 cup of whole milk or half & half, whatever is needed to achieve your own preferred consistency/ Adjust seasonings and that’s it.
Change this around to suit yourself – a little bacon with the shallot is good, fresh herbs like sage or thyme, use just water and no stock, omit the cheese, add a dollop of butter at the finish, a little sour cream might be good.
Make croutons with whatever bread you have around. I used the end of a loaf of multi-grain from my neighborhood bakery, Bakery Nouveau. Melt butter with a little olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic in an oven-proof pan/ Toss in torn or cut pieces of bread/ Season with salt and pop into 400º oven for 6 – 8 minutes/ Keep an eye on it/ When golden and crispy remove from the oven and use as is or dust with a little cheese of your choice while still hot/ If adding cheese, put croutons back into the oven for just a minute/ Add these to the soup when served. Croutons add just the crunch needed to make this creamy soup a tasty and voluptuous experience.