Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cauliflower Bisque with Buttered Breadcrumbs

Serves 6-7
Recipe from Love Soup by Anna Thomas
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

I found this recipe in a cookbook that I had checked out from our new town library.  It’d been snowing out and I actually had all the ingredients for this soup in my pantry/fridge.  I really liked this soup made tangy with lemon and goat cheese.  The buttered breadcrumbs (made from No-Knead Artisan Boule) were a nice texture contrast to the creamy soup. How about making this soup for this week’s Meatless Monday dinner?   For a vegan option, the author suggests using olive oil instead of the cheese and butter.  Lost River Market & Deli carries all the ingredients for this delicious soup, including herbes de Provence, which is a mixture of typically containing savory, fennel, basil, and thyme flowers, sometimes lavendar and other herbs. Look for it in the bulk spice section of the store.

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
1 lemon
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt, plus more to taste, divided
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 oz. goat cheese
Buttered Breadcrumbs (See directions below.)

Place the cauliflower pieces in a soup pot with 2 cups water and the broth.  Slice off a large strip of zest (yellow part only) from the lemon and add it to the pot.  Juice the lemon and add 2 Tablespoons of the juice to the pot reserving the rest of the juice for serving.  Add 1 teaspoon sea salt.  Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  Remove and discard the lemon zest.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet.  Add the chopped vegetables along with the garlic and ½ teaspoon sea salt.  Sauté until the vegetables are soft and beginning to color.  Add the herbes de Provence and cook another minute.  Add the sautéed vegetables to the cauliflower soup mixture.  Cover the pot and simmer another 15 minutes or so until the cauliflower is very tender.  Remove from the heat.  Using an immersion blender (or blender or food processor) puree the soup.  Taste and add salt and/or lemon juice, if needed.  Return the soup to the heat and bring it to a simmer.  Add the cheese and the last Tablespoon of olive oil, stirring gently as the cheese melts.  Sprinkle a heaping spoonful of buttered breadcrumbs over each serving of soup at the last minute, just as you are serving it.

Buttered Breadcrumbs
1 cup coarse, soft breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the breadcrumbs and stir over medium heat for several minutes until the breadcrumbs begin to take on a toasty golden color.  Remove them from the heat and spread them in a thin layer on a plate to cool.

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