When I dine out and go for buffet instead of a la carte, I seldom come to the counters where soup is served. Having an access to a lavish spread, I would rather prefer to try as many options of appetizers and main course as possible (not forgetting about dessert, of course!) so filling up with some soup first, whether it is rich velouté or light consommé, does not seem to be a good choice for me.
However, once I was having a lunch with my friends and since everyone were praising the soup, I decided to go against my own rules and get a bowl for myself as well. And that was a right decision, I should say! The dish had a delicate taste of cauliflower and a pungent hint of gorgonzola (oh yes, one of my favourite cheeses!), so I felt that I could actually forget about all the other dishes in the buffet. Indeed, the soup was insanely good, and I couldn’t but remember this stunning combination of flavours.
Recently I felt a sudden urge to replicate this dish at home. As it’s not quite easy to get gorgonzola here, I decided to go for Danish Blue Cheese which, in general, has the same texture and aroma. I can’t say that my soup turned to be better than the original one: it got a sharper taste since I definitely put quite a lot of cheese in it (I actually love to get a good “punch” from this strong cheese), but I was quite happy to have only this one dish for my lunch that day as well!
1 lt water
1 bay leaf
½ leek, white part only
1 celery stick
a few springs of parsley
5 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 cauliflower (about
500 gm), florets only
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
80 gm blue cheese, crumbled
salt and black pepper to taste
- For the vegetable stock, bring water to a boil in a large pan, and put onion, celery, carrot, leek, parsley, bay leaf, cloves and black peppercorns. Reduce the heat to medium – low and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Strain and discard the vegetables and spices. Return the stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.
- In another pan, heat butter with olive oil and sauté chopped onion till translucent. Add garlic and cauliflower florets and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add the vegetable stock, and cook, covered, on low for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Allow to cool, and then blend till smooth (you may reserve a few florets for garnishing).
- Reheat the soup gently and add the blue cheese. Stir till it melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the soup among the bowls and garnish with the reserved florets and fresh herbs.
- Do not put salt in your vegetable stock! I’ve made a mistake by putting some and the soup which tasted nicely after I blended it, became too salty after I stirred in the cheese! I had to dissolve my soup and got it a bit thinner than I prefer.
- Start with adding just a small portion of cheese into a soup, taste it and keep adding in small portions until you feel that “kick” from the cheese. Make sure not to put too much of it as it may be too overpowering and you won’t taste your cauliflower in the soup.