Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Season NW: Stalking the Wild Cauliflower

It's the reason that we humans keep journals and diaries. To write down the details of our lives so that we (or our children or whomever) will have a record of thoughts and events, the ins and outs of daily life as it happens in the moment. Whether used as a historical document, an opportunity to reflect or, as in my case, a reminder of what I did last week, they can be a helpful aid in remembering what the heck happened.

That's how I know it was two years ago almost to the day that I discovered the joy of roasted cauliflower, that the mushy white vegetable whose only taste, to that point, had come from the cheese sauce glopped over it, actually had a toasty, nutty flavor locked away inside, just waiting for a hot oven to release it.

So when I saw a recipe for roasted cauliflower soup in the most recent edition of the Hillsdale Farmers' Market newsletter, I knew my next market expedition would include tracking down one of those cranial lumps of vegetable deliciousness. And believe me, if you decide to go down this path, you'll be rewarded with a creamy bowl full of comfort that you'll proudly be serving to guests in the coming months.

Rustic Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Eamon Molloy

1 extra lg. or 2 med. cauliflower, broken into florets about 1 inch in size
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
6 c. water
1/2 c. cream, crème fraîche, sour cream or tofu sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Spanish smoked paprika and finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Break the cauliflower into florets about an inch or so in size. Place florets in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Put in a 9" by 12" Pyrex baking dish. Roast cauliflower until soft, about 35-40 min.

When cauliflower is nearly done, heat some olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth. If using a food processor or blender, let soup cool for a few minutes and process in small batches, adding more water if it seems too thick.

Add cream or sour cream and stir until combined, using immersion blender if necessary for any lumps. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of the paprika and parsley.


Gayle said...

I can't wait to try this! I have been on a roast cauliflower kick for about a week now, making it almost every night for dinner.

one thing I do is when I pre-heat my oven, I put my cast iron skillet in there. then when the oven is ready, I toss the cauliflower in and they get a nice little crisp with their roasting. yum

Kathleen Bauer said...

And the cauliflower at the markets are looking amazing right now…good for you. Great hint, too. The browning would add that more of that nice caramelized flavor!

Amanda said...

I tried this recipe last night, and you are right - so very tasty!

I roasted for an hour, and maybe didn't let it brown enough, because the finished product was just a little bland for my taste.

I ended up using a cube of chicken boullion and 1 Cup of Sour Cream...and that was just what it needed.

Thank you for the inspiration!!!

~Amanda in Olympia, WA

Loo said...

I rediscovered the Cauli when I started getting them from my CSA, all fresh and tender and still wrapped in their cocoon of leaves (which BTW you want to keep until your ready to use, it helps the cauli stay fresh in the fridge). It was a revelation what fresh cauliflower tastes like . . .

I am SOOOooooo making this soup!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Amanda, glad you made it to your liking…isn't that what recipes are for?

And Loo, my dear, so good to hear from you! Let me know what you & Jon, I mean, Mr. R-, think!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful soup! Thanks so much for the recipe. It is now one of my cold weather faves. I skipped the cream and it was still velvety and delicious. Hubby used cheese & bacon as condiments... It's kind of like a "little black dress" of soup recipes - you can dress it up or down, depending on your preference.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Thanks, Anon! Left alone it's a classic, but add pearls and heels and you can take it out on the town!