My family loves cauliflower and eats it a few times a month. I knew that they would love this soup featuring our favorite vegetable adapted from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. I hope you enjoy it too!
1 head cauliflower (approx. 2 pounds)
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and washed thoroughly
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and Pepper
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives (optional)
Pull off the outer leaves of the cauliflower and trim the stem. Cut around the core to separate it from the florets. Thinly slice the core and set aside. Cut a heaping 1 cup of florets from the head and set aside. Cut the remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, but not browned, about 7 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high, add water, sliced core, and half of the sliced cauliflower and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the remaining sliced cauliflower, return to a simmer and continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15-20 minutes longer.
While the soup simmers, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently until the florets are golden brown and butter is browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer florets to a small bowl. Toss the florets with the vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour the browned butter from the skillet into a small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
Process the soup in a blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out the pan, return the soup to the pan and return to a simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with up to 1/2 cup of water as needed. The soup should have a thick, velvety texture, but should be thin enough to settle with a flat surface after being stirred. Season with salt to taste. Serve, garnish individual bowls with browned florets, drizzles of browned butter, chives (if using) and season with pepper to taste. Enjoy!