Stupidly Easy Soup
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:45PM
Cameron Blazer in cauliflower, cooking, food, recipe, soup

Cream of Cauliflower Soup © 2009 Cameron Blazer
The weather has been weird here for the last week. May in South Carolina is usually reliably hot. But we've had days of blustery rain and cold nights. As if I needed an excuse to indulge in my favorite food group: soup.

Oh how I do love soup! Chunky chowders, cold gazpachos, creamy bisques--they're like the little black dress of foodstuffs--a little accessorizing and you have a whole meal.

My CSA has a bumper crop of cauliflower right now, and though it's apparently a spring crop, cauliflower just feels warm and autumnal to me, so it fit this weird fall-like weather perfectly. If you think you don't like cauliflower, I hope you'll give it another look--I don't know anyone who has given roasted cauliflower or cauliflower soup a fair chance who has not been completely won over by its charms.

Now, I must confess I am having to reconstruct this recipe in an odd way--this cauliflower soup began its life as cauliflower puree that accompanied our roast chicken last week. We had tons left over (the kiddo was not fooled that these were not mashed potatoes), so after a particularly bone-chilling May day, I turned those leftovers into a smooth, creamy soup that far exceeded its humble beginnings. Still, I am pretty sure I've got the proportions right--it's pretty much all cauliflower all the time. Some soup theorists may scoff, as my version includes no onion, carrots, or celery. Well, I vote for practice over theory every day--you can surely add those, but I just love the unadulterated nutty flavor of the cauliflower.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (serves 4)

1 medium head (or 1 lb frozen) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 T butter (live a little!)

1/4 c cream or half-and-half (live a little more!)

2 oz goat cheese

3 c water (more or less--let your texture preference be your guide)

salt and pepper

optional: truffle salt / bacon and basil / olive oil / oven-dried tomatoes / creme fraiche

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to boil. Add cauliflower and cook until just tender (the cauliflower should turn translucent all the way through--if it's still bright white, let it cook a bit longer).
  2. Drain the cauliflower, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.
  3. Puree the cauliflower (using a stick blender or in batches in a stand blender), cream, and goat cheese with enough cooking water to result in a completely smooth puree.
  4. Return the puree to the pot over medium heat. Thin, as necessary, with the reserved cooking water.

See? Stupidly easy!

The first night I made this, I served it with a sprinkle of truffle salt*--the earthy richness of the truffles ratcheted up the cozy factor on this soup to the perfect level. When we ate the soup tonight, the dreary sky had lifted and the temperatures were creeping back toward normal, so the combination of bacon and basil enriched and brightened it perfectly.

*Ok, I know. At about $20 for a teeny-tiny jar of salt, truffle salt is just about too cute by half. But I've had the same jar for over a year, and it's more than 3/4 full. So, I certainly wouldn't buy it just for this soup, but I wasn't sorry I had it lying around, either. If you have truffle oil lying around, you could use that, too, but I have rarely tasted a truffle oil that didn't taste like transmission fluid, so I don't buy the stuff any more. Whatever works, eh?

Article originally appeared on Various and Sundry Things (http://cottage-industrialist.com/).
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