Bon Appetit calls this soup “elegant” and I would have to agree. It’s flavor is the pure essence of cauliflower (and butter), and it has a silky, creamy texture. The chive oil splashes a pop of lime green color on the white surface. It makes a perfect winter dinner with a green salad alongside.
Instead of boiling the cauliflower, this recipe slow-roasts it to deepen the flavor. I cut down on the butter by a few tablespoons, though there’s still quite a bit of butter in this soup. The original recipe also has instructions to make rye crostini or pumpernickel croutons: brush slices of Finnish rye bread (or toss cubes of pumpernickel bread) with olive oil. Toss with rosemary sprigs. Bake at 400 degrees until crisp, about 12 minutes. These little rye toasts from Trader Joe’s work well too.
Cauliflower Soup with Chive Oil
Makes 8 servings
For Chive Oil:
2 1-ounce bunches chives
3/4 cup olive oil
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), leaves discarded
8 tblsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 large onion, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. For Chive Oil: Set a coffee filter in a glass; set aside. Blanch chives in a medium saucepan of salted water. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Squeeze chives dry; coarsely chop and place in a food processor. Add 3/4 cup oil, puree until smooth. Pour through coffee filter, let drain for 3 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator (do not press on solids). Bring to room temperature before using.
2. For Soup: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place whole cauliflower head in a large baking dish, rub with 4 tblsp butter, and season generously with salt. Add 1/2 cup water to dish. Bake uncovered, tenting with foil when it begins to brown, until a knife inserted in the core meets no resistance, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven; let cool. Coarsely chop and set aside.
3. Melt 2 tblsp butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and 4 cups water. Simmer until cauliflower is very soft, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Working in batches, puree in a blender until very smooth.
4. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer, thinning out with more water if too thick. Season with salt. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tblsp butter and cream. Serve warm in shallow bowls. Rest crostini on edge of bowl, or scatter croutons over. Drizzle with chive oil.