Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola

Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola Recipe


This wonderful cauliflower soup recipe was inspired by my trip to New Zealand - sort of. Let me back up and explain. My suitcase weighed in at 27 kilograms (or 59 pounds) when I checked in for my long flight home from Wellington on New Year's Eve. The woman at the Air New Zealand desk wrote 27k on a blindingly red tag and looped it through the handle - lest any unknowing baggage handler dislocate a shoulder trying to lift it.

Part of the reason my bag was so heavy is because I brought back books. Not many, just two - but in addition to the three weeks of clothing, fifteen bars of Schoc Chocolate, four jars of native honey, two bottles of olive oil, and two bottles of wine, it added up. The phrase that shot through my brain when I went to lift it onto the scale was - dead weight. People around me were snickering.

One of the books I carefully wrapped in a skirt and tucked into my bag was a cookbook titled A Year in my Kitchen by Skye Gyngell, chef at the Petersham Nurseries Cafe. Her book doesn't seem to be available in the States, but for those of you overseas (or willing to order from the UK) this is a book to buy. The photography by Jason Lowe is vibrant and feminine and the pacing of the pages is perfect. The recipes have room to breathe on the page and there is a pleasing flow from word-intensive pages to full page photography, and a nice mix of food shots, ingredient shots, and minutiae / details.

The recipes are seasonally organized. They are straight forward and unfussy. I suspect she would find herself at home in many a California kitchen. A sampling of recipes from the book includes; Baked Quince with Honey, Bay, and Verjus; Sweet Potato and Goat's Cheese Frittata; Baked Ricotta with Roasted Tomatoes, Black Olives and Basil Oil. I chose to make her cauliflower soup today for a quick lunch. Kid you not, once you cut up the cauliflower and onion, the soup practically makes itself.

Skye suggests topping the soup with a cranberry-flecked pickled pear relish made from cooking a couple crisp, diced pears and an apple in a bit of butter with a splash of cider vinegar, a small handful of sugar, a bit of cinnamon. It is finished off with salt and pepper. This is one option, the soup can go many other ways as well. Play around with different cheeses. An antique gruyere is one of my favorite cheeses to use when the weather is cold, and it would be delicious in this soup in place of the blue. You could spice it up with some curry powder, or ground, smoked red chiles. Roast the cauliflower (and onions) first, like we did here for even more depth of flavor.

And again, if you haven't already, pick up a hand blender. It makes soups like these (and the cleanup that follows) unbelievably quick - no more taking apart the blender, or worse, blending in batches.

A bit of a sidenote (for those of you on the lookout for good luggage). I was telling someone over the weekend how much I love my suitcase. It has lots of pockets to keep things organized. I can hang clothes in it. It is smart looking, and the exterior is made of a quixiotic sounding material - ballistic nylon. Most importantly, and unlike many other garment bags and suitcases, it has structure and maintains its shape even when sandwiched at the bottom of a stack of heavy bags. This is a big deal for me on trips where I bring home all those edible delights that qualify as liquids.

 
 
 
 

Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola

This is an ever-so-slightly adapted version of Skye's cauliflower soup recipe. I lightened it up a bit by easing off the Gorgonzola some - I had the soup for lunch and wanted something not so intensely flavored with blue cheese. I also converted it from the metric system.

1 medium cauliflower
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 smallish yellow onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken stock (hs note: I used vegetable stock)
1 cup Gorgonzola cheese (hs note: I used 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup creme fraiche
parsley for garnish

Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and break it into small florets (don't bother to remove the stalk - it only adds to the flavor). Set aside. Melt the butter gently in a saucepan (large enough to hold all of your ingredients) over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat gently for 5 minutes or so until translucent.

Add the cauliflower, thyme and bay leaves. Season with little salt and pepper, to allow the flavors to adjust and find their feet. Pour in the stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is very soft.

Crumble in the Gorgonzola and stir over a low heat until it has melted into the soup. Add the creme fraiche and stir to combine.

Pick out the bay leaves and thyme stalks, then blend the soup until really smooth.

Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Ladle unto warm bowls, serve topped with chopped parsley.

Serves four.

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Your Comments


Tim
January 16, 2007

Heidi you are seriously lucky being able to carry New Zealand Honey back into the USA. The challenge I have is that it is near impossible to get food stuffs from overseas back into New Zealand! Our Customs controls are strict to say the least!

 

Sarah Canet
January 16, 2007

Dear Heidi,

I work with Skye and look forward to reading her your comments. You're right, the book isn't available yet in the States but Skye has been approached by a couple of US publishers so we hope that situation will be remedied soon!

I'm working my way through the book. Smoked Haddock chowder (page 206) is on the menu for lunch today.

 

Curzon Tussaud
January 16, 2007

I think that you will love Skye's book: I have a copy , and gave one as a Christmas present. Petersham Nurseries, where Skye cooks, is a charming nursery near Richmond, which sells beautiful plants and garden furniture. There's a large (19c?) glasshouse with a beaten earth floor, and in here, amongst a delightful but expensive selection of garden antiques, books, plants and monogrammed French linen, you eat Skye's delicious food.
The idea of thickening and enrichening soups with cheese first came to me via Sarah Beattie's Fennel and Dolcelatte soup, from Neither Fish nor Fowl, and I now do it regularly.
I have pre-ordered your new book from Amazon and await its arrival keenly!

 

Pia
January 16, 2007

Some UK blogs have written about this book as well, glad you got yourself a copy, too!

 

MeltingWok
January 16, 2007

This is great where you did not use too much heavy cream on it, simply light :)

 

kay
January 16, 2007

Heidi,
I am just an ordinary person, not a gourmet cook, but I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your site, your stories and recipes. I have cooked several and love them all. Glad you are safely home. Keep up the good work!

 

Don
January 16, 2007

As always, you share another winner. I did think of the Muppet's Swedish Chef who used a tennis racket to "serve" meat balls, when I tried to gently "swat" the onions per your instructions.

 

vici
January 16, 2007

So what was the other (cook?) book that you brought back?...v

 

catherine Ross
January 16, 2007

Heidi,

This looks and sounds delicious. Did you see She Who Eats just posted photos from her visit to Petersham cafe? Looks lovely. I'll have to talk a buddy into sending me this lovely book.

Cheers.

 

Abby
January 16, 2007

I love cauliflower - it's one of my favorite foods. (I much prefer it over brocolli, actually.) I'm looking forward to trying this soup as it finally turned cold here in N.C. today!

 

Trig
January 16, 2007

Having been lucky enough to get some work experience with NZ chef Peter Gordon who taught me so much in such a short space of time, I can't wait to go there myself one day. You are so lucky. NZ produce and herbs and spices are quite extra-ordinary.

 

Jennifer
January 16, 2007

It seems the link to the hand blender is broken; said link actually brings one to the suitcase. Could you please tell us which hand blender you're recommending?

 

Tea
January 16, 2007

I recently stumbled upon Petersham Nursery and Skye while online. I am entranced and currently trying to locate the book, so funny to see it here. It looks beautiful, thanks for sharing.

 

Joel
January 16, 2007

Budding home cook here...

When you say "Add the onions and sweat gently for 5 minutes or so until translucent," what does "sweat" mean?

 

CookingChat
January 16, 2007

you make cauliflower (usually a bit bland in my book) sound pretty appealing. BTW, congrats on the article in Food & Wine. That Broken Lasagna with Walnut Pesto looks great!

 

Yazmena
January 16, 2007

Wonderful now I know what to do with the cauliflower in the fridge! Thanks.

 

Heidi
January 16, 2007

Joel, nothing super fancy - the onions release a bit of moisture after a few minutes in a pan like that. They get glossy, less opaque, and seem to sweat :)

Catherine, I'll have to go read that post. I also meant to link to Keiko's beautiful pictures of her visit as well (it was getting late last night!)
http://www.nordljus.co.uk/en/summer-chocolate-and-hidden-garden

Sarah, I look forward to coming and enjoying your food in person at some point!

Thanks for all the comments. Some friends in LA were talking about organizing a monthly soup swap -- where everyone shows up with soup divided (and labeled) in individual containers. You swap with your fellow soupmakers and go home with a variety of soups for the week!

Thanks for the heads up on the broken link Jennifer, I'm on it.

 

Angel Elf
January 16, 2007

Great tasting soup when spiced up a bit. By the way your link to the hand blender points to a Samsonite suitcase at Amazon.
Thanks

 

Heidi
January 16, 2007

Ok, I fixed the blender link. I have the Braun all-white, dial-on-top model (currently out of stock). The one I link to looks pretty close, I believe they both have the 400 watt motor. I wouldn't want all those attachments, but....

 

Lydia
January 16, 2007

My favorite part of travel is collecting cookbooks and kitchen tools from other countries. One investment I made a long time ago is a set of metric measuring cups -- much easier than converting my recipes!

 

Rachel
January 16, 2007

wow, i'm on a honey kick lately. i'll have to try some from new zealand.

that books sounds amazing. i'll have to try and find it. sounds like a job for ebay.

 

Garrett
January 16, 2007

Hmm, this sounds like a wonderful soup. BTW, those lime and black pepper fries have been making many appearences here and with friends. We love them with a bit of avocado and cilantro puree'd together. :)

 

richie
January 17, 2007

cauliflower and gargonzola.. who would've thought. DELICIOUS!

 

CAL
January 17, 2007

I had to dump my honey at customs once upon a time.

 

Nicky
January 17, 2007

Wow! This recipe looks great, so great in fact that I am going to give it a shot this weekend. Thanks for posting it, it's hard to find really interesting vegetarian recipes. I will keep my eye out for the book here in the states.

 

Sarah P, Food Editor
January 17, 2007

Heidi,

I was reading your recipe for the Califlower and Gorgonzola soup and was wondering if there was any other type of cheese that would be just as good to substiute for the gorganzola. I am not fond of this cheese but the recipe sounds amazing!
Sarah

 

Bradford
January 17, 2007

I am having trouble finding creme fraiche here in New England. I used to live in London and I used it all the time, but finding it is tough here in the States (at least where I live). Anyone have any suggestions?! Recipe sounds amazing. My girlfriend loves both gorgonzola and cauliflower so I will surprise her one night with this soup..if I can find creme fraiche! Help! I need the brownie points with her! :)

 

almost vegetarian
January 17, 2007

What an absolutely amazing soup. This time of you, when the only thing that will do is something hot and tasty and liquid, this looks like it will hit the spot beautifully. Thanks!

 

Nori
January 17, 2007

Hilarious -- the "Customers who viewed this item also viewed these others" link for your suitcase on Amazon now shows your cookbook and 4 others. I knew your readership was huge, but I didn't know it was that huge! The people over at Amazon must be scratching their heads about this one.:)

 

Bradford
January 17, 2007

Bradford, I think plain yogurt or splash of cream would both be fine substitutes! Good luck! I had leftovers last night with a generous sprinkling of curry powder added to the soup as it was reheating, just enough to add a subtle accent. Really tasty.

Nori, let me go look....that is really funny.

 

Tim
January 17, 2007

I had to double check the suitcase thing. The suitcase looks very stylish - but a bit beyond this weeks budget. The suitcase link having connected to views of the cookbooks is fabulous too! Clearly it shows that Heidi's readership is signficiant enough to influence Amazon's systems! I call that a champagne moment!

 

PRITYA
January 17, 2007

Hey Heidi,
I really like the motivating factor behind your website:101cookbooks.com. I too tend to pick up cookbooks with exciting coverpages off the shelves, try out a few selected recipes, and then forget all about them! It's nice that you have categorised various books of your choice, according to taste, flavour,region and ingredient!
Also, some of the recipes that you have evolved on your own in the process, like the cranberry jam and butternut squash cookies are interesting.
meenakshi@pritya.com

 

home cook
January 18, 2007

Wow. Very interesing flavour combination of gorgonzola and cauliflower. Some years ago I've been in Italy and tried very tasty soup from pears and gorgonzola. I didn't find the recipe of this soup. My be you know?

 

Enthusia
January 18, 2007

i love my immersion blender--it's definitely in my top 5 list. thanks for the recipe!

 

Mela
January 19, 2007

Heidi,

Where did you get those gorgeous bowls?

 

Joanna
January 19, 2007

The soup looks great, but I love, love, love, those bowls. I did a search to no avail. Well, I found them, but the place only sells to restaurants and caterers. Where did you get them?

 

Annalisa
January 19, 2007

For whoever lamented not being able to find creme freche on store shelves, here's how to make it at home (found it in a french cookbook, never bought actual creme freche again):

Measure 1 cup of heavy cream, and add one tablespoon of buttermilk. Mix well. Cover container or glass measure cup with plastic kitchen wrap. Leave the container out on kitchen counter overnight or for 24 hours. Once it looks like the cream is solidifying on top, transfer it to a fridge proof container with a lid, and let rest for one more day. The creme freche should then be creamy but solid, and is ready to use. It can be used (if properly refrigerated) for up to 1 week.

 

Heidi
January 19, 2007

I love those bowls too. I found them in the very back of a cupboard at my parents house. I wanted to use them for a a few of the shots in my book, so I persuaded her to let me borrow them. Give me a day or two and I'll ask exactly where they came from - quite a few of you have emailed me about it as well.

On the pear cauliflower soup front. I
ll be honest, many times I don't like the squeezy-teeth mealy texture pears bring to soups (although someone in my house loves to use pears in just about every soup he makes)...hmm.

 

Snehal
January 20, 2007

Heidi,
The bowls are so yum! like porcelain cauliflowers :), Skye is so cool, I love reading her features in the Australian delicious magazine!! I have still not managed to find the crinkle cups here in Australia or New Zealand .. any ideas??

 

Curzon Tussaud
January 20, 2007

From Skye's book: Have just cooked the chestnut and rocket salad followed by the guinea-fowl with parsley sauce, for friends. I used vac-pac chestnuts and warmed them gently in olive oil with lemon zest and thyme (rather than sage). You then dress the rocket leaves with some of the oil (and I added some balsamic for bite), fold the chestnuts through, and drape prosciutto over if you're a carnivore. I was very pleased with the results. Pud was orange salad with lemon curd ice-cream from Tamasin Day Lewis's Simply The Best book. Yum (if I say it myself!)

 

Pam
January 22, 2007

hello, you can find creme fraiche at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, if you have either of those near you.

 

Marie
January 22, 2007

Mmmmmm, gorgonzola. If you are ever near Alfred, NY - try the roasted asparagus with gorgonzola cheese at Cafe Za. (Though my dad told me that the restaurant may be gone by now.) Hmmm, I think I will go and try to find a recipe for that.

 

CarolynW
January 22, 2007

Wow was I a hit tonight with dinner! I served this delicious soup. I *had* to do beautiful bowls to come close to the picture, so I used brule dishes. It works fine because I have two small children that don't eat much. I also served the Lemon Quinoa and a green salad with faux Brags vinaigrette. Everyone loved me. I couldn't get the thyme leaves to stay on the sprigs, is this normal or do I grow faulty thyme?

 

Ramesh.G
January 23, 2007

very good site.
Fine message for all peoples in the world.