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Cauliflower Soup with Paprika, Parsley and Toasted Bread Crumbs

October 17, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Cauliflower Soup with Paprika, Parsley and Toasted Bread Crumbs

If you have an enormous cauliflower and end up with some left over, even as little as 3 cups, chopped (about 11 ounces), you can make this lovely soup. I love paprika with cauliflower, either the plain or the smoked. The clean scent of parsley is a must, and the crunchy breadcrumbs give an otherwise smooth soup some texture. If you prefer, you can make the breadcrumbs larger, which will give the soup a little more heft.

Cauliflower goes well with many flavors. You could turn this into a curried cauliflower soup by adding turmeric and curry powder to the onions in the beginning. You could make it with coconut milk and stir in some chutney at the end. Toasted mustard seeds would make an attractive garnish, and a handful of watercress, pureed with the soup, adds bite along with the color green. Of course cheese is always good with cauliflower, such as sharp cheddar, Comte, or Gruyere, grated and stirred in at the last minute. As it is, this is a rather lean dish, filling, but not very caloric.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil or olive oil
1 onion, diced, or 1 cup chopped leeks, the white parts, well washed
3 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 carrot, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 4-ounce potato, preferably Russet or Yukon Gold, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried
4 cups water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup breadcrumbs, made from a slice of whole wheat bread
optional: 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
paprika, plain or smoked

Preparation

Heat the oil in wide soup pot and add the onion.  Cook over medium high heat for a few minutes, giving the onion a stir so that it doesn’t color unevenly. Add the cauliflower, carrot, potato and thyme leaves and cook, turning frequently for about 5 minutes.  Add the liquid, 1-teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that soup simmers, cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.  Let cool briefly.

Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. You can start with a cup then add bit by bit.  All of the soup should fit in a blender jar. When done, return it to the pan and taste for salt, adding more if needed, along with pepper.

While the soup is cooking crisp the bread crumbs in a pan with the ghee, if using, or without. They will crisp in a dry pan, too, but the ghee (or butter) definitely adds flavor to the soup.  When they’re browned and crisp, set aside.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls, add a dash of paprika to each, breadcrumbs, and finally a sprinkling of finely minced parsley leaves.

Makes about 5 cups