A few weeks ago I had the most amazing cauliflower soup. It was rich, creamy, and silky smooth. I instantly wanted to make it myself, but I was convinced my immersion blender would not be up to the task. I thought I would definitely need an industrial strength restaurant blender to get a puréed soup that smooth, and I was not really in the market for one of those.
Even with some nagging doubts, I decided to give it a whirl (ha). After cooking the bejeezus out of the cauliflower, I busted out my trusty blender and puréed the soup, and then puréed it a little more, and then even a little bit more. And guess what? Silky smooth! I was impressed and a little astonished. Good job, blender. With the soup done, I focused on garnishes, just for fun.
The original recipe called for fried capers, but I goofed and forgot to pick them up at the store. So I took a cue from the restaurant soup and topped it with seemingly exotic espresso salt. After scouring the internet for espresso salt recipes and coming up empty, I decided I could probably handle this one on my own. I combined relatively equal amounts of ground espresso and grey sea salt, rubbing the mixture together with my fingers until it looked and tasted good. Voila.
And then I served the fanciest-looking weeknight soup ever. A creamy cauliflower purée topped with fresh chive oil and espresso sea salt. Fancy looking, but ridiculously easy. I promise.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large (4 lb.) head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets, or 6 cups frozen chopped cauliflower
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Espresso Sea salt
- 1 tsp. ground espresso
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
Heat olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and stir until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until cauliflower is soft, about 25 minutes or so.
While cauliflower is cooking, make the garnishes. To make the chive oil, combine chives and olive oil in a small food processor or blender until well-combined. You can keep it slightly chunky or puree until completely smooth. To make espresso sea salt, stir together ground espresso and salt until well-combined. Set aside.
Once the cauliflower is soft, remove the soup from the heat and puree with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (You can also puree it in batches using a standard blender, but an immersion blender is relatively inexpensive and makes killer soups with ease. I highly recommend getting one.)
Place pureed soup back over low heat and stir in half and half, remaining 2 Tbs. butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve immediately, garnished with chive oil and sprinkled with espresso sea salt.
Source: Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is.