An Incredibly Simple and Delicious Cauliflower Soup

 

I’m an ingredient junky.  I can happily spend hours searching out the perfect ingredient at high end grocery stores.  It IS my habit.

But this exquisite recipe requires only 3 ingredients:  cauliflower, onion, olive oil, water and salt and pepper (water, salt and pepper do not count as ingredients).   I know, I know — I was skeptical too.  But the soup’s success hinges on a very delicious olive oil.  I have been obsessed with Sagra olive oil since La Pergola restaurant opened on Chestnut street a couple of years before the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.  It closed shortly after that.

They served it with their delicious bread, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  It’s herby and grassy and aggressive, but buttery at the same time.  I know. I’m sorry  It’s another obsession.

The soup is humble and comforting.  And it’s a Paul Bertoli (superstar from Chez Panisse and Oliveto for many years).  Enough said.

 

 

Serves 8

  • tablespoons of a very delicious olive oil, my recommendation:  Sagra.
  • medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
  • head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan — I used my dutch oven. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
  3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.
  4. Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. And . . . I can’t help it — I sprinkled it with Aleppo pepper because once again — I am obsessed that too!

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