French Fantasies: French Onion and Roast Cauliflower Soup with croutons

French onion and roast cauliflower soup

No, it’s not what you think, foodiecure hasn’t gone on some erotic bent. But lately, the french bug has got me thinking all things gastronomic pleasure. The story behind this dish is I was walking home from work…the clinic being south side, and I live north side, and you see, I needed to get my Qi flowing after a day sitting down. As I wandered through the chilly Euro tinged streets of Melbourne, rugged up in a leather jacket, scarf, knee high boots and flat cap, naturally all I could think of was French Onion soup and Pinot Noir. Naturally. My minds eye drifted to the roast cauliflower in the fridge that I had cooked the night before – with the intention of doing something way more boring – and that’s how I got the brainwave to add the voluptuous flavours of roast cauliflower to rich, hearty, deeply caramelised onion. In soup format, it makes it better and easier to digest – especially good for the majority of us who need to protect our digestion.

~ The recipe ~

makes 2 main serves or 4 entree

1/2 head cauliflower, roasted
knob butter
good drizzle of olive oil
1 med – large onion, sliced and caramelised (approx 25 mins)
2 c. vegetable stock
white pepper
salt, to taste
truffle oil
rye sourdough cut into rounds with a cookie cutter
Gruyère or similar hard cheese (I only had manchego in the fridge which worked fine!), grated

  1. Caramelise sliced onions on low heat, lid on, with olive oil and butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt) for a good 25 mins. You want the onions to be nice and brown (not burnt), sweet and rich in flavour. About halfway through add a good grinding of fresh white pepper.
  2. Bring the cauliflower and vegetable stock to the boil, then simmer, lid on for 20 mins (do this while onions are caramelising). This will make for a nice rich base for the soup. If your vegetable stock is unsalted, add a pinch of salt here.
  3. Once cauliflower done, puree really well until super smooth. Make sure the consistency is quite runny, you want an almost broth consistency, with that same richness. If you have one, pass through a chinoise for added smoothness.
  4. Add cauliflower ‘stock’ to the onions, bring to the boil then simmer to meld the flavours for about 10 minutes. The longer the better. Up to 45 mins would be divine.
  5. Test for seasoning and adjust (ideally you season enough through the middle stages you don’t need to salt at the end…this results in a well composed dish as opposed to salt-sitting-on-top-at-the-end kind of thing. Read this post for more info.
  6. Scoop into bowls and top with sourdough rounds and grated cheese. Put under broiler (grill) until bubbly and golden, then drizzle with some truffle oil for added decadence. Buon appetit!

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