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. I found these little rye toasts at Trader Joe’s instead.
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.