Friday, September 28, 2012

Cream of Cauliflower – Come for the Soup, Stay for the Bacon Gremolata

We’re heading into the heart of hot soup season, and this cream of cauliflower will ward off autumn’s chill with the best of them. I’m a big fan of the cauliflower in all forms, but this simple soup may be my favorite application.

Of course, human nature being what it is, I wasn’t satisfied with just the soup, and wanted to garnish with something new and exciting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything, so I decided to follow that age-old advice which says, “when in doubt, bacon.”

I’ve garnished soups like this with bacon before, but never tried toasting breadcrumbs in the rendered fat. Not surprisingly, it worked very well, and the additions of lemon zest and parsley elevated things even more. The only problem with a recipe like this is the next time I’m served a cream of cauliflower, no matter how good it is, I’m going to be a little sad there’s no bacon gremolata floating on top.

By the way, I realize there are no breadcrumbs in a true gremolata, but I thought it sounded kind of cool, and besides, I’ve never been that big on respecting the sanctity of culinary terms. I was going to go with “baconized breadcrumbs,” but that sounded a little too much like molecular gastronomy, which is much worse.

If you’re not into eating animals, some diced shiitake mushrooms and a pinch of smoked paprika would be a great substitute in the gremolata. You’d also need to add some olive oil to replace the rendered bacon fat, but you probably knew that.

Now that I think about it, that vegetarian version sounds pretty amazing as well. Maybe next time I’ll skip the bacon and…oh, who am I kidding? Anyway, I hope you give this delicious fall soup a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 8 servings:
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste
1 large russet potato, peeled, quartered
2 heads cauliflower, trimmed
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart water
1/2 cup cream
cayenne to taste
For the gremolata:
4 strips bacon
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

View the complete recipe

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

"no soup for you!"

Axel14222 said...

Darn, I only bought one head of cauliflower!

Sandra from Montreal said...

A perfect recipe for what's supposed to be a cool and rainy fall weekend! Can't wait to try this :)
Thanks!

Scott G said...

One of the easiest looking recipes I've seen on this blog, and as always, I can tell just by the recipe that it's fantastic! Thank you, Love the work you do here!

Anonymous said...

Über Chef John, love this time of year when the various forms of squash appear in the grocer's market..so many varieties of soup possibilities...

I love cauliflower soup and your recipe looks wonderful...can not wait to try...

Hollis K. Lee said...

Chef John you are EPIC

Anonymous said...

All of your soups look beautiful! Maybe this will be my way of sneaking in vegetables at dinnertime.

mikie said...

chef john is there another way to thicken the soup without using a potato

mikie said...

chef john is there a way to thicken the soup without using a potato?

Chef John said...

just use less water or more cauliflower

Anonymous said...

must run to store to buy ingredients to make this soup

Jim Spatz said...

NO PEPPER?

William Chow said...

Do you have a recipe book or something for sale (per year)? I'd buy it instantly.. If you included a DVD with all the video recipes that would sweeten the deal even more.

Chef John said...

Jim, there is cayenne in this (that's pepper)

William, no new cookbooks in the works. I prefer the easy money of videos ;) (btw, search Amazon for "Mitzewich")

Unknown said...

Chef, been wanting to ask you this for years. Where do you get those awesome stainless bowls? I've seem some at restaurant supply stores that look a little shallow -- yours always look exactly perfect for every task!

Jeff B said...

Chef, been wanting to ask you this for years. Where do you get those awesome stainless bowls? I've seem some at restaurant supply stores that look a little shallow -- yours always look exactly perfect for every task!

Chef John said...

Don't remember where we got them, but very easy to find on Amazon!

Anonymous said...

Baconized = word of the year.

Baconized bread crumbs = embarrassing drool-stain on shirt...

Anonymous said...

Chef....didn't you use nutmeg in your previous cauliflower soup;);)

Cape Cod Life said...

Made this for dinner tonight--it was superb, thanks!

Anonymous said...

No "two heads of cauliflower are better than one" quips.? This video left me pungry. Looks tasty though.

Jana said...

Love it Chef John - you're the bomb! Where did you go to culinary school?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef, I know every ingredient has a purpose but would it be ok to leave out the heavy cream? I can't have dairy but would love to try this soup.

Chef John said...

of course! if you can't have it, leave it out! ok, just not as rich.

Chef John said...

yes, I think I did add nutmeg to the old cauliflower soup, but I've evolved. ;)

Anonymous said...

Can you use something other than full cream like a plain yogurt? Just looking for a lower fat alternative.

Elisabeth said...

I just made this, and it's soooo good. My boyfriend is of the classic "real men don't eat soup, we need meat"-school, and even he admitted that it was a real filling, delicious meal=D

Jen said...

Yet another hit with my family! I added a half cup of sharp cheddar too (just because... lol). Your recipes NEVER fail - thank you again and again :)

apheen said...

hi chef john, can i add broccoli with this? i dont have enough cauliflower..

Marc Concepcion said...

For us more parameter-driven and less-observant food-cooking dabblers, can you also add the lemon and parsley ingredients to the gremolata list? I almost forgot to write that down on my shopping list before heading out!

Thank you, sir!

And as always, I enjoy your stuff.

"Soup-erintendent" Brilliant!

Christina said...

Dude...totally made this soup. SOO good. I didn't have one big potato so I used two little ones, it was a bit to thick at the end, but a simply added some more water which didn't alter the taste. Note, it was thicker because I don't have an immersible blender thingy (yet) so I had to use my food processor to blend the soup. It took 6 batches, but it was WELL worth it. I'm bummed I didn't have any lemon (which is weird cause I always have lemon on hand) so I missed out on that extra layer of flavor. I thought for SURE I had bought one...but alas....I did not, but it was still really tasty. Since this soup kinda tastes like cream of potato, I added some green onion at the end which was REALLY yummy. The BEST part about this soup is the fact it tastes so much better the next day!

Anyway, I've been drinking and have no idea if anything I just said made sense, but this soup is TASTY! I can't wait to make it again!

SpongebobTanu said...

been watching your videos for a while now (mostly for the humor) but this is the first recipe i tried. absolutely delicious! i subbed cream for milk to make it a little lighter.

CyberSuperfly said...

This soup is completely fantastic. 6 stars out of 5. If you're looking for a special soup for a cold night or a special occasion, this is it. Make it, follow the recipe and you will not be disappointed.

Just wonderful!

Chef John said...

Thank you!!

MoodyFoody said...

Love your soups Chef John, need more of these, I've been trying to incorporate much more vegetables and whole foods in my life so I love these recipes. Only concern is the delicious Heavy Cream since I'm dieting, I know I know, it's a must. But is there any alternative without compromising flavor? I've read some people use skim or low fat milk with a touch of flour and corn starch, or maybe half that and heavy cream? Any opinions on that? Or just use the heavy cream and eat less soup? >_<

Chef John said...

Milk will work! Just not as rich.

Anonymous said...

This soup was great. Even my picky 8 year old loved it! Thanks Chef John!

ls0 said...

It was so easy to cook and it tastes delicious! I decided to make this soup, bcs my boyfriend doesn't eat vegetables except potatoes, so when he saw this i told that it is only potatoes in there and it looks like soup bcs i added too much water in my "smashed potatoes". So he ate it without realizing that he eats vegetables :))))) Thanks a lot for this great recipe !!

Grant said...

Definitely just made this with purple cauliflower. Good conversation starter!

poof86 said...

I agree about not using nutmeg. I used red pepper flakes and freshly ground koriander seeds, which I think really added to the flavor. Thanks for the recipe! I love your cooking :9

Parenting said...

This soup is to die for! So delicious! Thanks

Tim Brunette said...

Once again another great hit with the family, the cheyenne pepper really worked well

Su said...

I made this today and it was really delicious. Thank you!

cookinmom said...

I do the same thing for my soup however, I use 1% milk instead of water. Delish...thanks! ;0)

Amy Eros said...

Hey Chef John,

LOVE your recipes and blog... Quick question... I eat low carb and would love to make this soup... Do you think I could substitute a turnip for the potato? Potatoes are a no no for my waistline, and I have heard that turnips could work since they are a root vegetable, have a lot less carbs, but have a similar taste. Thanks again for all you do!

Amy

Chef John said...

It's your soup! Use whatever you like! (won't taste the same, but you knew that already ;)

will dukeshire said...

LOL can't wait to touch everyones portions...yet another awesome food video by chef John!! I've only been a member for a couple months,but I gotta tell ya my mrs thinks I AM THE KING OF FOOD because of YOU.thanx sooooo much

Jeannie said...

Just made this soup and really enjoyed it. It is very elegant looking. We loved the gremolata as a garnish. My husband also added a little grated cheddar cheese as a garnish to his soup bowl and really liked that too. We will make this again. Love your videos and just ordered your book. Love the humor in your videos – makes them fun to watch. Yesterday we had Just Chicken and Mushrooms for the 4th time – so good.

Priceless said...

Can you make this soup in a vitamix and if so what are the steps!

Priceless said...

Hi chef John, really want to make this soup in my Vitamix blender, can it be done and if so how? thank you for the great recipes!!

Chef John said...

Never used one! I bet you could. Isnt it just a blender?

Priceless said...

It's not just a blender, you can put all the raw ingredients in and get hot tasty soup in about 5 -8 minutes.
This recipe seems pretty easy anyways so I will make it on the stove top as described. Thanks Chef John.