Cathy's Blog

Cauliflower Double-Play


Photo credit: Lynne Vittorio

The stack of monster heads of cauliflower at the Saturday Abingdon Square farmers’ market looked so sensational I had to buy one. Four dollars, a bargain. It was so close to Halloween that I felt like the headless horseman carrying it home. I had to weigh it, of course–slightly more than five pounds. That’s less than eighty cents a pound. Cheaper than potatoes, or carrots, or–come on, what pound of anything can you buy these days for eighty cents that’s worth eating?

Nevertheless, the very size of a cauliflower (this one took up half a refrigerator shelf) can be daunting, and, to be frank, how much of any cruciferous vegetable can one eat before it becomes a burden? Not to worry: I have a recipe, and it’s ridiculously simple. The first time around it’s a lovely pureed soup, and the excess (this five-pounder yielded eight cups of puree!) can later appear as a sauce over gnocchi because cauliflower and potato are flavors that marry well.

Head of cauliflower
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine (discard stems)
Salt and pepper
Half-and-half (optional)

Cut the cauliflower in quarters and remove the core, which is not tasty, as well as the leaves. Chop it up and put it in a large saucepan. Add broth and cook over low heat until the cauliflower is very soft. If it gets dry, add more broth. Let it cool, then puree in batches in a food processor, measuring the amount of puree as you pour it into a mixing bowl.

For four cups of puree, I suggest 1 teaspoon salt, 10 grinds of fresh pepper, and a heaping tablespoon of thyme. If the puree is too thick for a soup, thinning it with a little half-and-half won’t hurt the taste one bit. Heat and serve with a dash of red pepper if you desire.

The excess puree freezes well. When you’re in a cauliflower mood again, just thaw, heat, and serve over gnocchi with fresh grated Reggiano parmesan or Grana Padano cheese. You’re welcome!

October 31, 2016

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