The cauliflower at the markets has been superb these last few months, so we put together this soup for our last OCH Art Market of 2012 using some of that good stuff. This recipe acknowledges the season with its ingredients, but results in something light, smooth, and clean in flavor, something more suited to the balmy weather we’ve been having than the hearty stews and squash-based soups that one typically finds this time of the year.
Ingredients: cauliflower, onions, potatoes, celery, clear vegetable stock; vegetable oil, garlic; arugula, salt, pepper
1. In a large pot, place cauliflower florets, roughly chopped onions, peeled potatoes, and celery. Add enough vegetable stock and/or water to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cook for about twenty minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. (Use approximately 1 potato, 1/2 onion, and 1 stalk of celery for each head of cauliflower.)
2. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool until it is safe enough to handle, if pureeing with a blender or food processor. While waiting for the mixture to cool, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan. Do not allow the oil to reach smoking point. Place a couple cloves of thinly sliced garlic in the hot oil, and cook the garlic on low heat until the slices are soft and the oil infused with the garlic.
3. After pureeing the cauliflower mixture, add salt to taste. Reheat and ladle soup into bowls. Before serving, drizzle a few teaspoons of the garlic oil and garlic slices over each bowl. Garnish with small arugula leaves, and a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper.