Rediscovering Cauliflower: Almond Cauliflower Soup

Almond Cauliflower Soup with Nutmeg

It seems as though suddenly cauliflower is everywhere – from Top Chef (Ariane won two challenges with it) to Cooking Light magazine, I just can’t escape it. Which had me thinking, what am I missing?

I’ve never been a fan of cauliflower, thinking it was mostly a bland and astringent frozen vegetable served alongside broccoli, a vegetable I truly do appreciate. But I began wondering if maybe I was missing out on something wonderful, so I decided to give it a try.

Blanch almonds Peel almonds

I knew cauliflower could make a silky-smooth puree, and being winter felt that a soup would be a good option. But by now you should all know my aversion to dairy in soups, so I wanted to come up with something besides milk or cream to add richness, which is what lead me to the almonds although they would need to be blanched to retain the soup’s light color.

Sweat garlic and leeks Add almonds and cauliflower

For an aromatic, I felt the subtlety of leeks would be ideal with just a bit of garlic to bring out the other flavors. The lemon would add enough acidity to brighten the soup and the nutmeg would add depth.

Puree soup Strain soup

So, I’m sure by now you’re wondering if it worked, and it I’d crossed over to the light side? Oh yeah, this soup is awesome! It was rich in flavor yet very healthy. Guess I’ll have to see what else cauliflower can do…

Here’s the recipe:

Almond Cauliflower Soup (Serves 6; about 1 1/4 cups per serving)

1/4 cup whole almonds

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 leek, white part only, chopped

2 heads cauliflower, core and green parts removed, chopped

6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Pinch white pepper

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

Begin by blanching the almonds (or buy blanched). Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the almonds and boil for 1 minute. Strain the almonds and rinse well under cold running water to cool. Drain then use your fingers to remove the skin from the almonds (it will easily slide off). Discard the skins and roughly chop the almonds. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the leeks and cooking, stirring often, until soft, about five minutes. Stir in the almonds and cook for 1 minute, then add the cauliflower. Add enough broth to cover. Increase the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil, then slightly decrease the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Let the soup cool slightly, then puree in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and into a pot to ensure the soup is silky smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the remaining broth. Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish each with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon for the entire pot.

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