Cauliflower has capabilities far beyond what you would imagine in terms of flavour and texture, and I cant seem to get enough of it these days. I’m besotted with how it can masquerade as a carb in a fluffy ‘cous cous’, and how it turns into creamy, comforting smoothness in this soup without whacking up the calories.
I decided to roast the cauliflower before adding it to the soup mix so as to get some caramelisation and flavour development going, and because I had my oven on, so it was just a case of slipping to in for 30 minutes. You could quite easily make this without roasting it before.
I have also kept it quite simple – mainly for the sake of calorie conservation, but you can really just go wild with this as a base. I also really love the flavour of cauliflower as is. I added a pinch of smoked chilli flakes, but smoked paprika or harissa stirred through at the end would add a lovely spicy finish too. Fresh herbs like chives snipped over, crumbled blue cheese or a spoon or two of creme frache would certainly add value, not to mention a handful of croutons or crispy bacon.
I opted instead to serve this soup with a few flavour-packed garlicky Parmesan toasts. I love a bit of crunch.
Recipe | serves 2 – 4
- 650g cauliflower, florets broken off
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- small bunch of parsley
- 1T butter
- 1/2 smoked chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 litre stock (chicken or vegetable)
- sour creme or cream to garnish
- 8 – 12 slices of baguette or small baguette rolls, cut on the bias (I use a mix of whole wheat and white bread)
- 50g butter, softened
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 t finely chopped parley
- salt and pepper
- 40g Parmesan cheese finely grated
Toss the cauliflower in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread them out on a roasting tray. Bake in a 180 C / 350F oven for 30 minutes and until the cauliflower florets just start to brown on the edges.
In a large pot, melt the butter and sweat the onion and leek. I do this partly with the lid on – which creates nice moisture to soften the vegetables, and partly with it off.
Add the roasted cauliflower, parsley chilli flakes and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Allow to simmer for 40 – 45 minutes.
Let this cool slightly, then process with a hand held stick blender until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.
Its at this point that you could crumble in cheese or or stir in any other flavours you might like.
Mix the butter, garlic and parsley together and toast one side of the bread slices until golden under a grill / broiler. Spread the garlic butter lightly on the untoasted side, scatter over the Parmesan cheese, and place back under the grill – until golden brown.
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