Seriously, this is one of the easiest soups EVER!, yet it continues to ‘ohh and ahh’ our guests, and my mom, too. Whenever they ask how I make it, I almost feel guilty about its simplicity. Then I notice that they are barely listening because they are too entranced in licking the bowl.
So even though this is a super easy recipe, I decided to christen this blog with my first post dedicated to my mom, who is one of my culinary inspirations.
She has been cooking and baking up a storm, inspiring me and guiding me to this day. She has been begging me for my "creamy" cauliflower soup recipe. But first a little cruciferous family history...
When I was a kid my mom made cauliflower with an Italian spin to it, but also one that she knew as kids we would eat. She would trim off all the leaves and take the toughest part of the core out, then boiled the entire head in tact until fork tender. In a separate small saucepan, she melted butter and stirred in bread crumbs until they were all coated with butter. Like a mad scientist with a fresh brain (well, as least that’s what it looked like to me as a young budding cook), she took this mixture and jammed it onto the top of the cauliflower head as if giving it a brown derby. I have to admit, this method was ingenious because we all fought for a hunk; coveting the parts that had the most breadcrumb covering. It was delicious, and she got us to eat cauliflower! Brava to my mom. Then and now, she is my guiding light.
In these health conscious times, some of us look to foods that have less fat and carbs. Which leads me back to the easiest soup ever. One cold winter day a few years back, I wanted something warm and comforting. Since my husband has eliminated dairy and I eliminated wheat, we needed something that would fit our restrictions. I opened the frig and all I found was cauliflower. Well, you can certainly make soup with that!
Here’s how it goes. (I warn you, you will read it and say, ‘Is she kidding? It’s THAT easy.)
1 head of cauliflower, broken up
just so it fits in pot (size not important)
olive oil (approx. ¼ c)
2 medium onions, cut in quarters
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
red pepper flakes (optional)
In a medium stock pot pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté until lightly caramelized. Add salt, pepper and cauliflower and stir. Add enough water to cover most of the cauliflower then cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is super soft.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove cauliflower and place in a blender. You probably won’t be able to get all of it in, so do it in batches, remembering to get all the onions and garlic pieces too. Add some of the water to get the blender going. Please note: be sure to vent the lid to let the steam escape as you slowly blend.
One of the versatile aspects of this soup is that you can add as much water as you like to reach the consistency you want. The more water, the more blending the thinner, smoother your soup will be. If you prefer it chunkier and thicker, less water, less blending. You get it. You will definitely not need all the water because that would be way too much and completely water down the soup. You can reserve it and use it for the base of another soup, or use it as a base for a sauce for pasta.
That’s it. Once all the soup is blended to your liking, taste to see if you need more salt or pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
fancy it up Variations
But there's more. You can enhance it a bunch of different ways with flavorful toppings.
Roasted Cauliflower Florets: Reserve some florets before adding to the stock pot. Roast these with some olive oil, salt and pepper at 425 degrees. Once nice and crispy, drop them on top your soup.
Caramelized onions or shallots, a nice topping in the center. I have also used both the onions and roasted cauliflower.
Oven Roasted tomatoes: adds a sweet note to the soup
Nuts: Toast some pinnoli (pine) nuts and sprinkle on top.
For less vegetarian options:
Grilled Shrimp: Grill or sautee some shrimp. Cut into bites size pieces and adorn the soup.
For serious meat lovers:
Crispy Ham: Using prosciutto, Serrano ham or bacon. Roast until super crispy. Crumble and sprinkle like you were in hog heaven. If you love Serrano ham, please visit Despaña for an amazing variety of hams, dry cured meats and so much more delicious Spanish fine foods.
As you can see, it’s limitless. Please try this soup. Try your own topping ideas and let me know how it turns out.