THE WASHINGTON POST – This nourishing bowl is like the cashmere throw of soups – cozy and comforting, in the most luxurious, stylish way.
Made with cauliflower that gets simmered with shallots and potato, in broth, until softened, and then blended until smooth, the soup is ultra-creamy and filling.
That lovely off-white puree becomes the canvas for a spray of toppings, which amplify its earthy, nutty flavours, while contrasting its creaminess: an exciting mix of meaty sauteed mushrooms, kissed with vinegar and tossed with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and fresh parsley.
The resulting warm bowl of goodness is a first-class upgrade from your basic pureed vegetable soup.
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH MUSHROOM AND HAZELNUT TOPPING
If possible, purchase hazelnuts that have already had their skins removed.
If they are not available, once you have toasted and cooled the nuts, place them on one side of a clean kitchen towel, fold the towel over the nuts and rub vigorously to remove any loose skins. It is OK if some skins remain.
The soup and topping (minus the hazelnuts) may both be made up to four days ahead and stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. (Add the hazelnuts to the topping just before serving to keep them crunchy.)
The soup can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to four days.
Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about four medium shallots)
One medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into one-inch florets (about six cups)
One (six-ounce) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Four cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
One teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup hazelnuts
Four ounces mixed mushrooms, stemmed, sliced and coarsely chopped
One tablespoon vinegar
Two tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
In a large pot over medium heat, warm one tablespoon of oil until shimmering.
Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they have softened a bit but have not browned, about one minute.
Add the cauliflower, potato, broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower and potato are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth, or let cool slightly and puree in three to four batches in a regular blender. While the soup cooks, make the topping: Place the hazelnuts in a dry medium skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, three to five minutes.
Transfer the nuts to a bowl and let cool. Remove the skins if necessary, then coarsely chop.
Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.
Return the pan to the heat and warm one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid and start to brown, four to five minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar.
Stir in the hazelnuts, parsley, the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle about a cup of soup into each bowl and top each with about two heaping tablespoons of the topping.
Calories: 200; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 600mg; Carbohydrates: 15g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 6g.