When I wrote this recipe several years ago I was surprised at how delicious this Cauliflower Soup was. Making this last night, and forgetting to look at my recipe, again I was equally as surprised at how good this is. It’ll be interesting to compare notes. In the photo it’s served with a handful of deep-fried cauliflower florets, which is something they do in North African Mediterranean countries and served as meze. Haven’t got a clue as to what they might be called. They are deliciously sweet, and quite different to the taste you’re used to. Sprinkled with bacon crumbs (very small bacon bits) and a large bowl of this really is a treat. Having said that, I had this last night plain. And, I actually preferred it. What would be nice with this are a few drops of truffle infused oil – until I saw the price of a small bottle and nearly fainted! Or Roquefort cheese, as it seems to be de rigueur.
Okay, out of curiosity I’ve checked online for deep-fried cauliflower and it seems to be both Lebanese and Syrian. It’s normally served with a dipping sauce called Tarator. Very simple. Ingredients: tahini or (sesame paste), 1 squeezed lemon, 1 cup of water, salt and garlic clove. Add a cup of tahini to a suitable bowl, add the lemon, the cup of water, minced/crushed garlic and a pinch of salt to personal taste. Mix together until all ingredients are combined. It’s probably best to add half the water, then keep adding until you get the consistency you’re happy with. The dipping sauce should have a thick consistency rather than watery. For 2 people I would use about half of each ingredient.
Cauliflower Soup, with deep-fried cauliflower florets and bacon bits
FOR THE STOCK:
- 200g (7.05 oz) x carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 200g (7.05 oz) x celery, washed and roughly chopped
- 200g (7.05 oz) x onion, peeled, topped and tailed and cut into 4 or 6 pieces
- 3 x garlic cloves, root end sliced off and peeled
- 2 x bay leaves, ripped
- 10 x whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 x vegetable stock cubes
- 700ml (1.47 pt US Liq) x cold water
- stalk and inner leaves of the cauliflower (not to be eaten), trimmed and washed
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 x medium cauliflower, cut into florets (keeping 200g aside for deep-frying – these need to be kept small) and soaked in cold water
- oil, for deep-frying some of the florets and for cooking the bacon
- streaky or back bacon, 1 – 2 x rashers per person or to personal taste
- freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to serve
- single/light cream, to serve
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Add the first 9 ingredients to a large saucepan and put on heat at electric No 4 (out of 6) and bring to boiling point. Reduce the heat to No 2 or No 1, and simmer for around 30 minutes with a lid on.
- Prep the cauliflower florets, keeping some aside to deep-fry.
- When stock is ready pour through a metal colander into a suitable container. Then, if coarsely ground black pepper has been used pour this through a fine wire metal sieve back into the same saucepan.
- Add the florets and bring back to a boil on No 4. Reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is cooked, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- When cool enough to do so liquidise the soup.
- If deep-frying some of the florets (which need to be as small as possible) then put on a small saucepan with about 2.54cm (1 inch) of oil. Put on heat No 4 and when hot enough (oil should not be at smoking point and saucepan should be at the back of your hob/cooker) carefully drop in the florets. Cook until golden, turning them over once during cooking time. Drain on kitchen paper.
- If using bacon bits either grill or pan-fry the bacon until crisp on both sides. Allow to cool before breaking into very small pieces.
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