Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cauliflower Soup with Cashel Blue Cheese

I have always loved cauliflowers and think that they are a much underrated vegetable that only ever seems get any air-time when smothered in a cheese sauce, gratinated and served as an accompaniment. I think that this is an awful shame as the cauliflower truly is a delicious vegetable and one that can be used in so many ways and in so many recipes when cooking.

Don’t misunderstand me - I love cauliflower cheese and sometimes as a completely indulgent treat, I like to make a Baked Cauliflower and Macaroni Cheese into which I throw in some leftover ham and a sprinkling of some crispy breadcrumbs – HEAVEN. I will post the recipe and some photos of that particular recipe in the near future, but for now, I want to give a recipe that shows the simple elegance of the cauliflower.

I love this soup. The earthy sweetness of the cauliflower really comes through and is accentuated by the addition of some crumbled Cashel Blue cheese. All too often blue cheeses are uses as a partner for broccoli, but I think that they work equally well with cauliflower, highlighting the sweet, creamy and almost nutty taste of the vegetable.

I deliberately do not use any stock when making this soup, as the taste of the cauliflower can get swamped by the taste of the stock… for me this soup really is all about the taste of the cauliflower and I prefer that nothing detracts from that. I do add a finely chopped small onion and one clove of garlic though; just to give the soup a little depth.
 
Once the cauliflower is softened I purée the soup and then pass it through a fine sieve so that the resulting soup is velvety smooth. The only other additions I make are cream and seasoning. I really do encourage you to taste the soup as you go along, adjusting the seasoning as necessary as it is crucial to the success of the finished soup. I use white pepper as the flecks of freshly ground black pepper, if used interrupt the virginal look of the finished soup.
 

Ingredients:

15g butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium-sized cauliflower, broken into florets
250ml double cream
Salt & white pepper
To finish:
Some crumbled Cashel Blue cheese 

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sweat the diced onions and crushed garlic for about 5 minutes over a low heat until softened but not coloured. Add the cauliflower florets and cover with enough cold water to barely cover the cauliflower. Bring up to the boil over a high heat, and once boiling, reduce the heat and allow simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked through.
2. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and purée everything to create a fairly thick, but still liquid mixture (You may need to do this in batches).
3. Pass the cauliflower purée through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and add the cream. Gently heat the soup, but don’t let it boil.
4. Serve in individual bowls with a little Cashel Blue cheese crumbled over the top.
 
Serves 4.