Roasted Cauliflower Soup

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Sometimes I buy a head of cauliflower. Probably because I have grand plans of eating it raw for a healthy snack, but shamefully and pretty often I choose something less healthy for a snack, and that head of cauliflower looks at me pitifully every time I open the vegetable drawer. I decided to make something out of that head of cauliflower, and ended up with this soup which was tasty and filling. While the consistency is thick, the soup still maintains an airy texture as well. The crispy prosciutto kind of made the soup extra special, so don’t omit it.

from: Cooking Light
serves: 4

1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 thin slices prosciutto or other cured ham, chopped (about 1 1/2 oz)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Place cauliflower in a large bowl; drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet, lightly oiled or coated with cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring once after 30 minutes.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Brush the bottom of the pan with oil and add the prosciutto. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove prosciutto, drain on paper towels. Melt a tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add  onion and garlic; saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add roasted cauliflower, stock, and 1 cup of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in half-and-half. Place half of cauliflower mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth; pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower mixture. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Taste, and add more salt if necessary. (I had to add a good bit to get it to taste just right.)

Combine the crispy prosciutto, almonds, and parsley. Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with the prosciutto mixture.

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