I love vegetable puree soups for many reasons. The first, and probably most obvious, is just how easy they are to make- cook the vegetables until done, puree, season and serve. The second reason is how versatile they are. I can either focus all of my energies on 1-2 vegetables or I can use a whole mess of them (various root vegetables work best, I find). The third, and probably the most important reason in my book, is how they taste; luxuriously rich and velvety, they bring a whole new meaning to vegetables. And better yet, they derive that soft and delicate quality without the use of cream or butter, which of course you can add to it, but why? I say let the vegetables speak for themselves!
I like to make soups like this for my clients because they are so hearty and light, all at the same time. I also find them to make for a great presentation and a nice smooth canvas for me to adorn with infused oils and herbs. This soup came together easily and was made from two main ingredients: cauliflower that I roasted down and potatoes that I simmered on the stove until they got tender. Then, I pureed it all together with the liquid that I used to simmer the potatoes to give it an extra hit of flavor. At the last minute, I added a bit of sharp Parmesan cheese and truffle oil to the soup, as well as dotted the surface of each bowl with the oil, just to add a different component to the dish and help bring out the earthiness of the other two ingredients.
If you find yourself in a rut with your soup recipes, give this one a shot. It's easy enough to make on a weeknight, hearty enough to keep you satisfied and I love how the earthiness of the ingredients is balanced by the soups light and velvety consistency. Also, I recommend serving some toasted bread with melted Parmesan cheese alongside the soup for a nice crunchy contrast.
Roasted Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup
- 1 head cauliflower
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 large potato, scrubbed clean, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Olive oil for roasting
- Truffle oil (to taste, and optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into even-sized pieces and spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, turning them about halfway through until they start to brown on the edges and become soft. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions until they become translucent, then, add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the potatoes to the pot and just enough water to cover them. Add the thyme and bring potato-onion mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Let the mixture cool a bit and working in small batches, use a blender to puree the cauliflower, potatoes and potato water. Return to a clean pan and add the Parmesan cheese. Heat the soup until the cheese melts. If using, add truffle oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese and a couple of fresh thyme leaves.