Last Sunday I needed something colorful and elegant to go with dinner. I wanted the soft flavor of cauliflower seasoned lightly with garlic in a cream base. I contrasted it with a green broccoli soup flavored with thyme and tarragon. Both vegetables have an affinity for garlic, thyme, tarragon, so combining them in the same bowl enhanced each soup while creating variation in each spoonful. I used onion in the roux for both to give them a common flavor base.
To keep it pale white, I ommited anything with color such as carrot or herbs.
tier one (you must use)
1 head of cauliflower cut into floretts
1/4 cup up to 1 small onion minced
2 tablespoons butter
Up to two cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons All-Purpose flour
3 cups milk
tier three (optional)
Nutmeg, to flavor at the end of cooking
Cream to enrich (after cooking)
Kneaded butter (to thicken)
minced tarragon (garnish)
Method: Saute onions, garlic, and shallots in butter until translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is just about to darken — keep is as light as possible. Add the cold milk all at once and stir and whisk vigorously until the roux is dissolved. Keep string and within three minutes it will start to thicken. Add the cauliflower florets and nutmeg.
If you would like texture in the soup cut the tips from three florets and add them when finishing the soup.
Cook for three minutes to soften the cauliflower then pour the soup into a blender and puree, or use an immersion blender in the pot. Transfer back to the pot, correct for salt. Taste. Is it smooth enough, rich enough? Consider adding cream. Is it too thick? Thin with milk. Is it too thin? Use kneaded butter. Serve with our without a sprinkle of tarragon.
A useful tool to have in pantry is kneaded butter, also known as Beurre Manie, which will thicken soups last minute, improve mouthfeel, and enrich with butter. To make, blend an equal part of flour and butter into a smooth paste. Use between a teaspoon and a tablespoon at a time, depending on the volume you’ve prepared.
Serve with a salad and flavored filo shell, which adds flavor, texture, crunch. Find the recipe here.