Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Soup Month: Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Parmesan
My mom used to make cauliflower soup when I was young. I didn't know what was in it, and I didn't care. I loved the velvety-smooth texture, the rich, buttery flavor and the sharp, peppery bite. I always meant to get the recipe from her (and I'm sure I did, but lost it before I ever made it).
She gave me a soup cookbook for my last birthday. I made a chicken chili from it last fall and then kind of laid it aside. I picked it back up again the other day, looking for a new recipe to try. Aha - cauliflower soup! It's almost stupefyingly easy. The flavor mostly comes from onions, cauliflower and chicken stock. And maybe a little butter...
The recipe calls for leeks, but I made it with yellow onions one time with great results. Also, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper is just a tease. I used 1 tablespoon. And, instead of crème fraîche, I used sour cream. Okay, and I used turkey bacon in place of the prosciutto (but didn't get a picture), and maybe I drizzled it with a little truffle oil and topped it with green onions at one point.
This is a good one, kids. We made a batch, ate it ALL in 3 days, and promptly made another one.
Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Parmesan from Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom
4 T unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (or onions)
12 cups cauliflower florets (from 2-3 large heads)
8 cups chicken stock
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup crème fraîche
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto (okay, I used turkey bacon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy deep-sided pot (with a lid) set over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring, until softened, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets, chicken stock, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover pot. Cook until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.) Whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese and the crème fraîche. Taste soup and season with salt as needed. (The soup can be made 2 days ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
3. Cut the prosciutto into julienne strips 3 to 4 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the prosciutto and sauté, stirring constantly, until crisp and browned, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain.
4. To serve, ladle soup into 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with some prosciutto, chopped parsley, and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.