Are you trying to eat more vegetables but are tired of your same-ole, same-ole cauliflower recipes. Try my Cream of Cauliflower Soup. It is delicious.
Cauliflower can be found in white, purple, orange, and green colors. The colored varieties began popping up in farmers’ markets and supermarkets about ten years ago. These varieties were not genetically modified but rather bred through the slow process of selective breeding. Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanin, which is also found in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids, also found in carrots, squash, and other yellow vegetables and fruits, give cauliflower an orange color. Green cauliflower, a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, is sometimes called broccoflower. Green cauliflower contains more beta carotene than white cauliflower, but not as much as broccoli.
The four different colors have a similar taste and texture—sweet and nutty—but vary slightly in nutritional value. For example, orange cauliflower will contain about 25 percent more vitamin A than white cauliflower.
A picture of the different colors follows. You are more likely to find purple, orange, and green cauliflowers at farmers’ markets, although my local supermarket often carries the purple or orange varieties. For this recipe, you will want to use white; but an orange cauliflower, which has a Cheddar cheese color, might be fun to try.
One trick I have learned: the leaves of cauliflower are edible; however, they have a strong taste similar to collard greens. When you prep your cauliflower, don’t throw away the leaves. Save them and add them to your vegetable stock.
Considered a super food, cauliflower is low in calories—a four-ounce portion contains about 30 calories. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6 as well as choline, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. It is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, which help strengthen the immune system and maintain bone and cellular health. My Cream of Cauliflower Soup is so delicious, you won’t know you are eating something healthy.
Cream of Cauliflower Soup Serves 6
Serve with a salad made of fresh baby greens and a hearty loaf of bread.
2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 ½ cups white onion, finely chopped 1 ½ cups leeks (white and light green parts only), finely chopped 3 green onions, thinly sliced 2 pounds cauliflower florets 4 cups homemade or canned chicken stock 1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock 2 cups half-and-half ½ cup crème fraiche ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon salt Cayenne pepper to taste
In a large kettle, place butter and olive oil over a medium heat until butter melts. Add onion, leeks, and green onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and transparent, about 4 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and chicken and vegetable stocks. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cauliflower florets are tender. Transfer cauliflower florets and broth to a blender or food processor. Purée in batches, then return to the kettle. Add half-and-half, crème fraiche, Parmesan cheese, salt and cayenne pepper and reheat soup until warmed through. 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Cut prosciutto into julienne strips 2 to 3 inches long and about ¼ inch wide. In a medium skillet, place olive oil over a medium heat. When oil sizzles, add prosciutto and sauté, stirring frequently, until crisp and browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain.
For the garnish:
Crisp, browned prosciutto pieces Croutons
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese Fresh thyme leaves, chopped To serve:
Ladle soup into 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with prosciutto, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and fresh thyme.
Tips on shopping for cauliflower: A good quality head of cauliﬂower will have uniform color and densely-packed, compact curls with bright green leaves that are ﬁrmly attached to its core. White cauliflower should have a creamy, white color. Pass up this vegetable when it has tiny, black mold spots, blemishes, or yellow, wilted leaves. This is an indication of an old cauliﬂower. Its leaves should look fresh and vibrant.
Tips on storing cauliflower: Cauliﬂower will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator when placed in a reusable, paper, or plastic bag.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates