I recently went to lunch with a client at Atlantic Grill near the Lincoln Center. While peering over at Regis Philbin (seriously!) our waiter brought us each a sample of cauliflower soup. I didn't know such soup existed so I was interested to taste. Before taking a sip, I imagined it to be awful but to my surprise it was delicious!
A few weeks later while catching up with my neighbor, Hillery, she mentioned she made a cauliflower soup at a cooking class the night before. Naturally, I had to steal the recipe and try it out for myself.
2 leeks, including two inches of green, roots trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 celery stalk, with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp ground ginger
6 cups vegetable stock
juice of one half lemon
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into florettes
1 cup half-and-half
1) Cut leeks lengthwise and slice thin. Transfer to a bowl and soak in cold water. Swish the leeks around allowing any dirt to tall to the bottom of the bowl -the sliced leeks will float to the top. Lift out the leeks into a strainer. Allow to drain and then pat dry with paper towel.
2) Heat the oil and the butter in a dutch oven over low heat. Wilt the leeks and celery with leaves until softened, 10 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the curry powder and ginger, and cook 1 minute more over low heat so that the vegetables are fragrant.
3) Add the stock, lemon juice, and florettes. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover partially and continue to oook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
4) Puree in a blender until very smooth. Add the half-and-half, and blend to mix. You will probably have to do this in batches. Add additional stock if desired to achieve a desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5) Serve immediately or reheat for later time.
CHEFS NOTE: Be very very careful when blending the soup!! I made a horrible mistake and pushed too hard on the lid of my blender. The plastic knob that covers the whole in the lid fell into the soup, spraying scalding hot soup all over me. It was not fun, not to mention, it ground up the lid. Needless to say, I had dump that batch of soup.