Friday, February 28, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chive Oil and Pumpernickel Croutons

February has been overwhelming, to say the least. There is something about this month which always seems to necessitate a particular mix of excitement, stress, lack of sleep, and the all-too-familiar "when will winter actually end?!" feeling. This February has been no exception; there have been many, incredibly wonderful things which occurred during these past few weeks (certainly the MusicalAmerica New Artist of the Month feature and my piano trio's performance at the Kennedy Center). There has also been just enough craziness that, during a few days of reassessing and really taking stock of things, I desperately needed to turn to my usual, preferred method of attempting to achieve personal balance: cooking. Not exactly revolutionary, I know, but when I haven't had any time for it lately, it sure feels like it.

In an effort to not just cook, but to make something new (chive oil) and comforting (a warm soup and anything roasted, really), I perused Bon Appétit's recent recipes and stumbled upon this one. My apartment smells lovely, I consumed one of the first homemade meals I've had time for in weeks, and I definitely feel my sense of self reviving.

Bon Appétit's Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chive Oil and Pumpernickel Croutons
*The recipe also gives the option for rye crostini, if that resonates with you

1 coffee filter
2 1 oz. bunches of chives
2 springs rosemary
Olive Oil (enough for 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon)
4 slices of pumpernickel for the croutons, or 8 slices of rye for crostini, sliced respectively
1 large head of cauliflower, leaves discarded
12 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large onion, minced

Blanch chives for 10 seconds in a pot of boiling, salted water. Squeeze dry and roughly chop before combining in a blender with 3/4 cup olive oil; purée until smooth. Pour chive oil into a coffee filter over a glass and allow oil to drip through for three hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Slice preferred bread into croutons or crostini. Toss with one tablespoon olive oil and rosemary sprigs, then lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until crispy. Remove and cool.

With the oven turned down to 350, rub cauliflower with 4 tablespoons of butter and salt generously. Place in a baking dish with 1/2 cup of water and tent with foil if cauliflower begins to brown. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until a knife meets no resistance at the core. Remove cauliflower and cool before giving it a rough chop. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium low and sauté minced onion for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add chopped cauliflower and add 4 cups of water, lightly simmering for 10 minutes until cauliflower is soft. Purée in batches in the blender until smooth. Return to pot and bring to a simmer, adding more water if consistency is too thick. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and heavy cream, adding salt to taste. Top with croutons or crostini and drizzle chive oil.

Until next time,

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