When we dined at the Rose Bakery in Paris I ordered this gorgeous soup, it wasn't weighed down by any cream as far as I could taste. This was a summer soup pure and simple, it tantalised the tastebuds with hints of coriander and the subtleness of lemon and, I would rightfully guess, made purely with good quality vegetable stock. These two complementary ingredients elevated the humble cauliflower from bland to sublime. I happen to like cauliflower, in fact my favourite way to eat it is raw. My girls like it that way too. Oh and char-grill style a la Ottolenghi style is a close second. But in a soup, well I really did not know what to expect, it was the lemon and coriander that caught my attention that fateful afternoon at Rose Bakery. My two favourite ingredients in a cauliflower marriage of sorts. It struck a note with me and I could not wait to get home and cook a version. Fortunately I have the beautifully presented Rose Bakery cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea which steered the way in creating a soup which is close to the one savoured in Paris.
Lemon & Coriander Cauliflower Soup
1 head of cauliflower, florets and stem chopped or 2 heaped cups
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1.5 litres vegetable stock, heated
2 tbsp lemon juice
handful of chopped fresh coriander
chilli flavoured extra virgin olive oil, optional
lemon wedges for serving
In a large saucepan gently heat the olive oil before adding the onion, carrot and celery. Saute the vegetables over a low heat, stirring often, until they have softened and are golden in colour. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, ground coriander and ground cumin and stir for a few minutes. Then add the cauliflower and stir for approximately 5 minutes until it is well coated with the spices. Add the stock and simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on until the cauliflower is nice and soft. Turn off the heat and puree with a hand blender until smooth.
Add the lemon juice, stir and ladle into bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of the chopped coriander and a light swirl of chilli flavoured virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges and wholegrain bread sticks.