Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Creamy Cauliflower Soup" inspired by Tyler Florence

Like many good stories about food, this one begins in a Farmer's Market.  We were returning home from visiting family and passed a farm stand loaded with seasonal vegetables - chard, beets, squash, potatoes and yams, onions, and cauliflower.

The cauliflower I selected was beautifully fresh, but huge - about 10-inches in diameter. Since I'm usually cooking for just the two of us this time of year, the size presented a challenge. [I used half as a steamed vegetable with baked ham.] What to do with the bounty?

Happily, that evening I was thumbing through the latest issue of House Beautiful and Tyler Florence featured a recipe for Cauliflower Soup in his column.  According to the story, he created the recipe for unexpected guests using ingredients he had on hand. (Obviously, Tyler has a more interesting pantry than I do, but I decided to use his recipe for inspiration and "wing it!")

First, he browned tiny leaves from Brussels Sprouts in olive oil to use as a garnish (I skipped this step altogether).

Next, he sauteed cauliflower florets and onion slices in olive oil and a little butter for several minutes until just tender; then he added salt and pepper.  I did that, too.

Tyler tied herbs in cheesecloth and added that, plus whole milk, to the vegetables and simmered the mixture until the cauliflower was soft. I didn't have cheesecloth, so I added about 5 sprigs of thyme and two bay Leaves with 21/2 cups of 1% milk (no whole milk, either) until it was fork-tender. I removed the bay leaves and thyme twigs, but left the tiny, cooked herb leaves for added flavor.

The mixture was to be transferred to a blender and mixed until completely smooth. Then tasted for seasonings and served immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice - about 1 tablespoon. The soup is meant to be presented in espresso cups garnished with the aforementioned crispy Brussels Sprout leaves, a tiny bit of salmon roe, and a drop or two of extra-virgin olive oil. The picture of the completed recipe looked lovely!

Lacking many of the above, however, I transferred the Cauliflower Soup to a ceramic pot and put it into the fridge to allow the flavors to blend (that's my story & I'm sticking to it!).



Later, I reheated the soup on low heat and having acquired a little half-and-half, added some for richness with the tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some freshly-ground sea salt and pepper. I presented it in rustic, small, black pottery bowls garnished with droplets of olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves. Delicious! And that's the point, isn't it?



I really admire Tyler Florence and appreciate his enthusiastic, yet approachable, attitude to food, so I hope I did him proud!  Find more of Tyler Florence's RECIPES here.


Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this as I can no longer get to Tyler's recipe and planned to make it for a cocktail party tomorrow. I like some of your ideas and will incorporate them into mine as well. Happy to hear it can be made in advance and still tastes good. I did go out and buy the smoked olive oil and the salmon roe & will serve in espresso cups. Now I have them in the pantry and will need to find more uses for them I suppose. :) Love the blog. Feel free to check out mine sometime - www.thepersnicketypalate.blogspot.com.

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