That’s it, just three ingredients, a head of cauliflower, an onion and water, make this impossibly rich and creamy Cauliflower Soup. One taste and you suspect cream. Nope, no cream, no dairy, no other vegetables, no nut milks. Only a fresh cauliflower and a large onion along with excellent culinary techniques for drawing out the most amount of flavor. Just the quality of cauliflower soup you might expect from Paul Bertolli, a former chef of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and Oakland’s Oliveto restaurants for over 20 years.
Celebrating Spring’s Bounty
During last Saturday’s healthy cooking class, after the first spoonful everyone wanted to make this comforting Cauliflower Soup. A few said they already had the ingredients in their kitchen. Others planned to stop at a store to pick up a cauliflower on their way home.
Leave it to (my husband) Paul 😎
The two very small fennel bulbs in our fridge wouldn’t be nearly enough for the Fennel, Apple, Jicama & Radish Slaw in last Saturday’s class. I asked Paul to pick up a large bulb of fennel from the store. As only he could do, he came home with truly the largest bulb of fennel ever. (Definitely the largest one I or anyone else in class had ever seen.)
Most medium bulbs of fennel weigh-in around 6-8 ounces and large bulbs about a pound at most. Not so with this bulb. Paul found/chose an organic fennel weighing-in at over 2 pounds. Two and a third pounds actually. We ended up with enough crisp and anise flavored fennel for not one, but two delicious salads. Perhaps the only downside was cost. Three pennies shy of $11 for this one huge bulb of fennel.
Some cauliflower favorites
Besides Cauliflower Soup, enjoy these other cauliflower favorites.
Now I’d like to hear from you. What are your best cauliflower recipes?
Lightly adapted from Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand.
Okay, so three main ingredients: an onion, a head of cauliflower and water. All artfully garnished with a little olive oil, chives and coarsely ground fresh pepper.
An unexpectedly delicious soup with luxurious texture and rich, delicate flavor.
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced pole-to-pole (2 ½ cups)
1 2 ¼- 2 ½ pound head of cauliflower
2 teaspoons salt
Drizzle with Extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle with thinly sliced chives or scallion greens
Dot with freshly ground pepper
- In a heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cover the pot. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes without browning the onions.
- While the onions cook, divide the cauliflower into approximately 1-inch florets. You should have about 10 cups of cauliflower.
- Add the florets, salt and ¾ cup water. Bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the cauliflower is tender, about 16 minutes.
- Add 5 ¾ cups water. Cover the pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
- Use a blender to purée the soup in two or three batches until very smooth and creamy. The soup can be made ahead to this point and reheated just before serving.
- Adjust the salt to taste and add additional water if the soup has thickened too much.
- Serve hot, garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and thinly sliced chives or scallion greens.