The temperature dropped comfortably low enough last evening to have soup for dinner without breaking into a sweat.
I made my favourite from the stinky-pooh-pooh cauliflower. It can be boring on its own so I luxed it up a little with a drizzle of porcini oil, a few cracks of black pepper, a couple of crunchy Parmesan crisps and some seared scallops dotted with black truffle salsa.
For the recipe, please send 5¢ and a stamped self-addressed envelope.
Nah, just kidding. Here it is - in my usual no-accurate-measurements way...
~ Half a head of cauliflower (cut into florettes - wash and drip-dry)
~ 1 brown onion (brunoise)
~ 5 fillets of anchovy (finely mashed with knife)
~ 20g of bonito flakes (works without too but I love its flavour)
~ vegetable stock or water (I ran out of stock and used water instead and the soup tasted just as good - the bonito flakes were a godsend!)
~ ground white pepper and salt
- Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into soup pot on medium heat.
- Throw in diced onion and mashed anchovy. Cook until onion is soft and translucent.
- Add cauliflower. Mix well with onion and cook until tender.
- On high heat, add enough stock or water to cover vegetables. Bring to the boil.
- Bring soup down to a simmer and constantly skim whatever yucky stuff that may surface.
- Add bonito flakes and put lid on. Let it go until cauliflower breaks easily when sqooshed between fingers.
- Remove from heat.
- If you have a Bamix (a stick blender), stick it in the pot and puree the soup. If not, use your benchtop blender and put the pureed soup back into the pot.
- Add milk - the amount will depend on how you like the consistency of your soup. I like mine thick and hearty so I don't put in too much milk.
- Season with ground white pepper and salt. Mix well.
- Heat soup up when you're ready to consume.
~ Finely grated Parmesan
- Pre-heat oven to 150°C.
- On a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, sprinkle a thin layer of grated Parmesan, the shape is up to you. Just make sure you leave enough space between each as the cheese does spread a little when baked.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is crispy and golden around the edges.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.
The rest is easy...
- Lightly salt and pepper the scallops and sear them in a hot pan. Do not overcook!
- The black truffle salsa is by Tetsuya, available at all good delis and grocers. It really brings the humble cauliflower soup to a whole new level.
- If you're a meat-eater, add a few ultra-thin slivers of crispy Pancetta or bacon for instant smokiness.
- Don't forget the drizzle of porcini or truffle oil and cracked black pepper on top.
Oh, you can freeze the excess for at least a week.