A versatile vegetable takes to the soup pot
Whether mashed, curried, roasted or baked, cauliflower is one of our favorite healthy alternatives to potatoes. The versatile vegetable is at its peak in colder months and makes for a warming winter meal when pureed into a creamy soup. In her new soup bible, Soup of the Day, author Kate McMillan gives us four distinctive reasons to simmer cauliflower in our pots this season. Our first pick was this understated crowd-pleaser, which gets a garnish of crispy prosciutto and requires only a splash of cream to create a soup as rich and creamy as they come.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Prosciutto
Recipe adapted from "Soup of the Day" (Weldon Owen)
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 3 slices)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until crispy. Let cool slightly, then crumble the prosciutto into pieces and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and nutmeg, stir well to coat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3. Add the broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot and simmer the soup until the cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment (or use an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and add more broth if it's too thick. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls, garnish with the prosciutto and serve immediately.
It's the details that count! Try these tips
Shallow soup bowls work great for this dish. Anthropologie's latte bowls ($20 for 4) serve up just the right portions and come in all sorts of punchy colors.