Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Cauliflower Crumbs

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.



Recipe Courtesy of Donna Hay

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Recipe Courtesy of Donna Hay

The seasons offer copious varieties of fresh and rich produce, waiting to be turned into cosy and comforting recipes. Winter produce means parsnips, swede, cabbages, beetroot, leeks, chicory, chard and cauliflower—to name just a few. You all know by now that cauliflower is a vegetable I really love, and enjoy pairing it with other ingredients to create different flavor palates. That is probably the reason I was drawn to a particular Donna Hay Styling and Photo Challenge featuring cauliflower as the star.

The recipe itself is quick and easy to prepare and a glance at the ingredient list shows it to be a very straightforward and fuss-free dish. Do not let that fool you though—the soup is simply exquisite and offers a great mix of refined flavors. Thyme is a particularly crucial component for me, as I personally find herbs to be the perfect natural props adding texture and subtle color to the image.The Parmesan cauliflower crumbs accentuate the aromas of this soup further.

While serving the soup I added shavings of additional Parmesan over the top, which gave it that distinct complex sharp and nutty flavor that the cheese is well known for. The sprinkling of fresh thyme added added another flavor highlight and rounded the soup off perfectly. The soup is rich and creamy and tastes and has the perfect balance of cauliflower flavors without it being too over-powering.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
Cauliflower is so underrated these days, when I grew up we ate it all the time but nowadays you hear in the media that farmers are growing it less because people are buying more broccoli instead. I think cauliflower is more sophisticated, you can bake it with spices, do gratins with cheese and it blends down into soup much better than broccoli does. I guess with it's pale colour it's more challenging to make it look interesting on the plate but you've done a superb job here. I must go check out the original pic on Simone's site.

Happy New Year to you xx
JANUARY 18, 2012 11:09:00 AM GMT+01:00

Ingredients:

For the soup
  • 25g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½kg cauliflower, chopped
  • 500g starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 500ml milk
  • 125ml single cream
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked white pepper
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
For the Parmesan Cauliflower Crumbs
  • 100g cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 20g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onion has softened.
  1. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk, increase heat to medium and cook for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower and potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and, using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Stir through the cream, salt and pepper.
  1. While the soup is cooking, make the Parmesan cauliflower crumbs. Place the cauliflower, oil and Parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, oil and Parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine.
  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, stirring for 2 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  1. Top soup with cauliflower crumbs to serve.
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