Thursday, July 16, 2020

RECIPE: Cold Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Pepper Puree

This soup is so pretty - creamy white with a red swirl - that I've served it as an appetizer at Christmastime.  Because it's served cold, it's also a great make-ahead starter for any 'company' meal, and it's wonderful when the weather is really hot because it's RAW, so all you need to prepare it is a blender.

This recipe can NOT be doubled because it won't fit in the blender, but I will often make two batches (to use up the whole cauliflower) and then combine them..

I normally serve it with roasted red pepper puree, but tonight I had mine with leftover lovage oil (it's also good with pesto or pistou), and my husband had his with chili orange oil

In the photo below, I served it with carrot salad with harissa and mint haloumi, and cucumber salad, for a cool meal on a hot day.

Cold Cauliflower Soup with Red Pepper Puree
Makes about 4 cups

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cups cashews
  • 2 t. onion powder, or 2 T. onion flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, grated, or 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. honey
  • pinch white pepper
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste
For serving: Roasted Pepper Puree (see recipe below)

Put the cashews into your blender jar and add the water.  Let them soak a few minutes to soften, while you break up the cauliflower. 

Remove the stem and all the leaves from the cauliflower, then remove any brown or discolored spots.  Chop it up and measure out 2 cups.  Add to the blender jar along with all the other ingredients (except the red pepper puree which you will use when you serve it).

Blend until smooth.  I used to make this in a regular (Waring) blender and it seemed like it took FOREVER to get creamy.  I had to stop it periodically to scrape down the sides.  It did eventually get there, though, so if you don't have a high power blender, just hang in there.

In a high powered blender, like a Vitamix or Blendtec, it shouldn't take more than 2 minutes.  If you press the "soup" button, it will heat the soup, and I prefer to eat this cold, so I just use the 'puree' button.  Stop once and scrape down the sides.

Pour into soup cups or bowls, drizzle with red pepper puree (or lovage oil, or pesto, or pistou, or chili orange oil, and serve.  (For Valentines day, pour a dot of red pepper puree in the center and then use a toothpick to drag out a heart shape.)

Roasted Pepper Puree
Makes 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers with their liquor*
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil or light cream (I've used both, but the photo shows oil)
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • pinch cayenne powder
  • pinch himalayan pink salt

This is much easier to make if you have a small jar that your immersion blender head JUST fits into.  I use a Weck terrine jar. 

Combine all ingredients in a 1/2-pint jar and use an immersion blender to create a puree.  Do not over-blend or the EVOO will become bitter.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large pieces.

If you don't have an immersion blender, use a coil whisk to puree the peppers, and then gradually blend in the oil/cream until you have an emulsion.  The quantity is too small for either a blender or a food processor.

* If you roast your own peppers, you can make this with any color.  I have made it with yellow peppers, orange peppers, and red peppers, and then layered them on top of the soup.  The photo below is from a party we hosted many years ago where this was offered as a serve-yourself appetizer.

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