Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup

by Darcy in


Despite the numerous baked goods and desserts I post here, Rob and I usually eat healthy food.  Admittedly, I find pies and crumble more photogenic than most salads or main dishes, but it is a new year and I've been trying to eat (and cook) healthier.  

Nevermind that I am eating ice cream right now.

I find that eating healthier is much tougher to do in the winter.  I am bored of most squash and while I love simple roasted vegetables, I sometimes crave something different. One option is to turn veggies into healthy "fries", such as these Turnip Fries from Saveur that were awesome.  Another option is soup - an easy and tasty alternative - but many simple vegetable soups are bland.  Not this one.

I read about this on Food52 (also the source of my favorite kale salad).  Paul Bertolli was the head chef at Chez Panisse for ten years and he certainly does know what to do with a vegetable.  I was suspicious of a soup with only cauliflower, an onion and extra-virgin olive oil as "real" ingredients, but this soup is dynamite.  It tastes like it has cream in it and comes together in a snap.  Rob could only hunt down yellow/orange cauliflower when I sent him to the store, but obviously any color of cauliflower will work (I'd love to see a lavender version of this with purple cauliflower). 

Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup
Yield = 8 servings
Recipe from Food52 

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
1 head cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
Salt, to taste
5 1/2 cups water (divided) 
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.

Using an immersion blender or a regular blender (working in batches), purée the soup to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.

Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.