Throwback Thursday! Cauliflower Puree Soup

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Originally, I posted this recipe in November 2010 on my Livejournal blog. I love the idea of cooking with fresh seasonal vegetables. What once was the norm, mainly out of necessity, has now become a trend. “Farm to table” restaurants are popping up all over, and consumers are finally realizing that buying fresh ingredients rather than packaged products is a much healthier and tastier option.

Living on Long Island, I have the luxury of driving to local farm stands and buying produce that was harvested that same morning. The corn, broccoli and cauliflower are my favorites. The enormous heads of snow white cauliflower cannot be compared to anything you find in the supermarket. Travel out East a bit and many roadside stands sell roasted corn dipped in butter and freshly made caramel apples. One farm I went to this year had a long line of people waiting for their famous apple cider donuts that were being made as quickly as they were being ordered.

At home, I roast fresh ears of corn and brush it with my own blend of herb butter. And I grill the broccoli with a marinade of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The cauliflower— I will eat it any way I can. Raw, steamed with lemon and olive oil, grilled, roasted, or sautéed in tomato sauce and garlic. My favorite is the cauliflower gratiné, which I serve as a side dish on Thanksgiving. A while ago, I ordered a cauliflower soup at a restaurant, and I’ve been craving it lately. This is my attempt at what I think I ate. It’s not exact, but pretty close. Although the soup had a creamy texture, there was no cream in the restaurant version. This is simple and easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of time.

Cauliflower Puree Soup

1 large head cauliflower

1 32-ounce chicken broth

3 cloves peeled garlic

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil or steam the cauliflower and garlic until very tender.  Drain and rinse under cool water. Place in food processor and puree.  Add a little of the chicken broth as needed to loosen up the cauliflower. Transfer the puree into a pot with the remainder of the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the grated cheese and stir until cheese is mixed and melted into soup. Remove from heat.  Ladle in a bowl and garnish with croutons or crostini if desired.

* You may substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make this a vegetarian dish. If you choose to omit the cheese, I suggest you add more seasoning or the soup may be a little bland.

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