Cauliflower and Herb Soup with Pecorino Crisps
Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family or looking for a hassle free entree to serve at your next dinner party, this creamy cauliflower and herb soup recipe is a winner. It’s like a cauliflower version of the French potato-based Vichyssoise. Plus, because it’s cooked with milk rather than cream, it’s much lighter than you may think.
I made it as part of a 5 course dinner party menu recently – more about it soon, and it was an instant hit. The only complaint I received was the relatively small portion size.
But since “[soup] is to a dinner what a portico or a peristyle is to a building; that is to say, it is not only the first part of it, but it must be devised in such a manner as to set the tone of the whole banquet, in the same way as the overture of an opera announces the subject of the work” ~Grimod de la Reynière, I only served the soup as a teaser to awaken the tastebuds and set the scene for the courses to come.
One of the world’s first food critics was right, it worked a treat!
Cauliflower and herb soup with pecorino crisps
- 600g cauliflower (approx half of one), trimmed and cut into florets
- 3 sprigs sping onions, chopped
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbs dried Italian herbs
- 2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp pecorino cheese, finely grated
Heat oil in a stockpot and fry off spring onions. Add cauliflower and brown lightly. Pour in water and milk and bring to the boil. Add potato. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add salt, garlic and herbs and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally as the water will start to evaporate.
When the stock has reduced by half, turn off the heat and blend with a hald held blender. Set aside until serving.
To make the crisps, form small circles out of the grated cheese on a cookie tray lined with 4 squares of baking paper. Grill until the cheese melts. To shape, place a thin, chilled bottle (I used a washed baby capers bottle) on the crips and press the paper with the cheese around the bottle. Hold for about 10 seconds.
Serve with some freshly ground black pepper and crisps on the side, remembering that:
“Hot soup at table is very vulgar; it either leads to an unseemly mode of taking it, or keeps people waiting too long whilst it cools. Soup should be brought to table only moderately warm.” ~ Charles Day, Hints on Etiquette (1844)