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This is an elegant, light, and smooth soup, with the look and texture of a velouté (cream soup) but not a drop of cream (there isn’t even a potato in it to thicken it). The recipe is from the wonderful cookbook, "Around My French Table", by Dorie Greenspan. It is delicious served it generously peppered and plain, but it’s a soup that welcomes embellishments, simple or lavish. For simple, consider drizzling the soup with a little walnut oil or dusting it with grated Parmesan or Comté. If you want to go lavish, top the soup with crème fraîche or, better still, crème fraîche and caviar — the slight saltiness of caviar is perfection with cauliflower. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a truffle, shave it over the soup. STORING: The soup can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 3 days or, packed airtight, in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped, Vidalia, Spanish, or yellow (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
- 3 celery, stalks trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 thyme, sprigs leaves only
- salt and fresh ground white pepper
- 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, broken into florets (discard the tough core)
- 6 cups vegetable broth or 6 cups chicken broth
- Put the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over low heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions, garlic, celery, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of white pepper. Stir until all the ingredients glisten with oil and butter, then cover the pot and cook slowly, stirring often, for 20 minutes.
- Toss the cauliflower into the pot and pour in the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the broth simmers gently, and cook, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft.
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor; or use an immersion blender. This soup is best when it is very smooth, so if you think it needs it, push it through a strainer. (If you’ve used a standard blender, this shouldn’t be necessary.) Taste for salt and pepper. Serve plain or garnished with the topping of your choice.