Cauliflower is the new Brussels sprout.
You heard it here first. Unless of course you were listening to NPR in the last week and then you’ve heard it here second.
If this food-trend prediction is true, in 2014 we will become inundated with articles on how to deal with cauliflower’s white gentle white curds. From now on, the brassica will be liberated it from its soggy, boiled mush to become an exotic crispy, spicy, delight. You now have permission to eat cauliflower with reckless abandon.
Of course, food trends should be taken with a grain of salt: if we lived by the food trend predictions of last year we would have all spent 2013 eating Cronuts (you know – the fried croissant/ doughnut hyrbid) served with a side of veggies as 2013 was the year of the veggie. Dee-licious.
Back to cauliflower. Whether you heard Weekend Edition last Sunday or whether you’re reading this for the first time, this is all good news because the mild, creamy flavor of cauliflower is versatile and nutritious and surprisingly, is the perfect vehicle for a bit of spice. I like to roast it with a splash of olive oil: the kids eat half with a sprinkle of sea salt and we grown-ups live on the edge and add some red pepper flakes, capers and sliced almonds.
As well as this crispy, spicy, roasted recipe, I am also rather partial to cauliflower cheese whereby the vegetable in question is served under a blanket of tasty cheese sauce. This recipe is a soupy-version of that, blending cauliflower—the cruciferae of the hour—with full fat Cheddar cheese in a delicious soup presentation.
I really believe that soup has restorative powers and this soup is no exception.
Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup
Ingredients- serves 4 – 6
- 1oz butter
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- Garlic, 2 cloves crushed
- 1 cauliflower, broken into pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 heaped tablespoon of Dijon grain mustard
- A pinch of grated nutmeg
- 4oz strong Cheddar, grated
- A few drops of olive oil
Melt your butter in a large, deep pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft but don’t let them brown.
In a separate pan, boil the cauliflower in about 3 cups of water until it is tender, this should take about 10 minutes. When the cauliflower is tender, add bay leaves and nutmeg to the onions, then add the cauliflower and the water it was cooked in. Bring to the boil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
When the vegetables are soft, remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
Leave the soup to cool for a while and then puree everything in a blender. Pour back into the pan and finally add the mustard and grated cheese. Bring the soup slowly back to a simmer.
Serve warm with crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped fresh parsley in each bowl, safe in knowledge that you’re ahead of the curve, you old hipster you.