Autumn: cauliflower soup

Too mild to be a base for a tasty soup... Dully grey without much of cream in a creamy soup... Generally sad vegetable with its undeveloped flowers. Yes, I confess my sin, I used to think that way about cauliflower. Then I gave it a try.

Was I seduced by the soup texture? Gentle flavour of the topping? Surprising poignancy behind the innocent look? Or the tawny bread was my true love and inspiration?

What did I use to change my point of view on cauliflower:

for 2 serves

1 cauliflower
600 ml chicken stock*
2 tbsps single cream
salt and black pepper
4 bread slices
2 tbsps butter
1 tbsps breadcrumbs
2 tbsps grated cheese

1. Wash and drain cauliflower. Divide into florets, leave aside 6 smaller florets.

2. Boil remaining cauliflower in the stock together with vegetables and meat, add a little of water if needed. When soft, take from the stove. Blend until smooth. Add cream and mix well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper (try with mixed peppers if you like), MAKE IT PUNCHY.

3. While boiling cauliflower in the stock, boil the remaining florets briefly in salted water. Immediately transfer into the cold water, cool down and drain. Melt butter in the frying pan, brown breadcrumbs, add boiled florets and combine. Up to this point, this is what the classic cuisine calls chou-fleur à la Polonaise. We go one step further. Place florets on a parchment paper, sprinkle with grated cheese and put under a heated grill for a few minutes (depends on the cheese form you prefer).

4. Heat the frying pan, brown breadslices on both sides.

5. Pour the soup into the dish, carefully place three florets on the top and heavily sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Serve along with bread.

* Prepare the stock on chicken bones with some meat, preferably on chicken legs, and vegetables, i.e. carrot, onion, celery. Separate meat from the bones and skin, return to the stock, leave vegetables in the stock. This soup must be nutritious!

Oh yes, so yummy. If you like it, you must try another nice idea.

Worth to remember is that the classic creamy cauliflower soup (with the addition of puréed potatoes) is called crème du Barry and that the method of coating with butter and golden breadcrumbs, called à la Polonaise, applies also to yellow string beans which I found the most delicious. Our (cheesy or not) cauliflower à la Polonaise is not only a decoration, it can be also a good companion to the main course or the dish itself.

Usually I try something new because I knew the story, this time it was the dish that was first. Most of us stop at this point.
Quel dommage!

The name for cauliflower derives from Latin caulis meaning cabbage. Via Italian cavolfiore, 'cabbage flower', English name for this vegetable is attested from 1597.

For certain, Brassica oleracea botrytis belongs to the cabbage family and is the youngest child botanically. We do not know exactly how cauliflower developed. Probably it is a distinguished kind of the white broccoli. Cauliflower and broccoli are basically the same species with the difference that the first one has white (generally...) inflorescence meristem and the second has green (not necessarily...) flower buds. It was already known in the antiquity and highly esteemed by the Romans and the Greeks alike. Then was forgotten for centuries, to be revivified by Louis XIV gardener, Jean Baptiste La Quintinie. And last but not least, I have never thought that so white vegetable can have so many minerals (Mg, Ca, K)... After all, my favourite white food is chocolate.

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