The Italian’s have a saying: take good quality ingredients and do your best not to screw them up! Well, this is certainly the case for this week’s recipe. After reading Paul Bertolli’s book, Cooking By Hand, we were influenced by the way he treated every ingredient with the utmost simplicity (watch for our pre-Christmas cookbook review next week).
As we have been saying each and every week, we live in a region with an abundance of fantastic local ingredients and each month we are given the “gift” of new and exciting produce. The best time to make the following soup (or any soup for that matter) is when you see the product at the farmers’ market, or even a roadside farm stall. As far as cauliflower goes, you will still be able to find it in the next week or two. Enjoy this soup and truly reminisce about the last days of summer.
An interesting point about this soup is that it relies on the pectin in the cauliflower to give it that creamy consistency without the addition of cream or butter. The soup is simple in its ingredients yet surprisingly full of flavour and its velvety texture keeps you wanting more. Garnish this soup with an aged cheddar, bacon or pancetta, croutons, crispy capers or even freshly chopped herbs: these garnishes can take you from a weekday meal to a starter at a dinner party.
The simplicity of this soup lies in using the freshest cauliflower and letting the flavours speak for themselves
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1lb cauliflower head, very fresh,
- in large florets
- Salt, to taste
- 5 cups hot water
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
Warm the olive oil in a pot and sweat the onion over low heat, without letting it brown, about 10 minutes;
Add the cauliflower, salt to taste and only half-cup of the water; increase heat to medium-high and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender;
Add the remaining 4-1/2 cups of water and bring to a low simmer; cook a further 20 minutes;
Blend soup with a hand blender or in batches in a blender until really smooth; return to pot and let stand for 10-20 minutes. At this time it will thicken slightly and flavours will meld;
Re-heat soup, thinning with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot water if necessary;
Serve hot, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh ground black pepper.