Sunday, 14 July 2013

Soup Sunday: cauliflower and vanilla

Soup Sunday has proved to be a fine invention in that it's made me get out of my comfort zone and try ingredients I never would have laid my hands on otherwise. The star of this week is perfect example of that.

Though I try to market myself as open-minded, I have never cooked with cauliflower. It looks boringly pale and the on the couple of occasions I have actually tried it, the taste has been watery and bland. Matters are not made easier by the fact that in the recipes raving about this veg, it is somewhat invariably gratinated under a generous serving of cheese. Which is the one thing I won't eat.

Without a doubt unfortunate associations from years ago also play a part in why I've never felt any particular need to try and make friends with broccoli's albino cousin. It resembles all those growths me and my sister always looked up in our nurse auntie's medical encyclopaedias...

Ok, enough of that and back to business! Cauliflower is actually pretty genius - it is one of the negative calorie count- vegs which means that digesting it actually consumes more energy than the veg itself contains. So, eating this soup is like going for a run!

It might sound odd at first, but cauliflower and vanilla are starting to be quite a classic combination. First time I encountered in one of the Masterchef- franchises and today I finally managed to give it a go myself. Vanilla lends this gentle soup sweetness, but almost peppery warmth, too. Perhaps my first effort with the cauliflower won't be my last! 

For 2

1 cauliflower (appr. 600 g)
1 onion
1 garlic clove
6,5-7,5 dl chicken or vegetable stock
1 vanillapod
0,5 dl cream
lemon juice
salt, pepper

2 slices of (whole meal) bread

Remove the leaves and hard stalk of the cauliflower. Cut the florets into smaller pieces and sauté them with finely chopped garlic and onion in a bit of butter. Cut open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them into the pan along with the shells. Add stock and let cook on moderate heat until the cauliflower's cooked and tender - about 15 minutes. Remove the vanillapod skins, blizz in a blender and pour back into the pan. Add cream, a dash of lemon juice and season. Serve with garlic croutons. 

Cut the bread into chunks of your desired shape and size. Toss in garlic oil (or regular oil and sprinkle some garlic powder on top) and bake in the oven in 200° until golden and crunchy.

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