In some places around the globe you can see the seasons change. From leaves that are stunningly red when the weather cools, to bare trees, to the sun shining through the clouds, and to striking, colorful blooms and intense heat.
In Los Angeles where I live — other than the Liquid Amber trees in my neighborhood — and slight changes in the temperature, the seasons are only noticeable in the foods I’m eating. As I cook through the year in my kitchen, I move from rich soups and creamy pies, to slow roasting all day and cutting gorgeous citrus, to vibrant salads, and finally to sweet stone fruits and fresh, flavorful herbs.
This fall-like Roasted Cauliflower soup would certainly warm you up on a cold winter night, and it’s brightened greatly with fresh basil, also making it ideal in the spring and summer.
And really, no matter the season, it’s a delicious, rich, flavorful and comforting bowl of soup.
- 3-1/4 pounds cauliflower (about 2 heads)
- 6 tablespoons, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup roughly chopped brown onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¾ cup roughly chopped, peeled white potato (about 4-ounces)
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Yes, you read that right. The very high heat is crucial in making this so delicious!)
- Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Trim the greens and the root off of the cauliflower and cut it into approximately half-inch slices, placing them on the oil-coated baking sheet as you go. (You won’t have perfect slices, because many of the flowerets will break into pieces.)
- Flip the cauliflower pieces over so both sides are coated with the olive oil. Then, generously spinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the preheated 500 degree F oven until the underside of the cauliflower is very brown, about 15 minutes. Use metal kitchen tongs to flip the pieces over and sprinkle this side with salt and pepper. Then brown this side as well, about 10 more minutes. (We're caramelizing the cauliflower, which is the key; it brings all the natural sugars — and flavor — to the surface.)
- While the cauliflower is roasting, coat the bottom of a large soup pot with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place it over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the potato and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Then add the roasted cauliflower, along with any remaining oil from the baking sheet.
- Pour the vegetable stock over all of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. (The potatoes should be very tender when it's done.)
- Add the basil leaves and nutmeg and mix them in.
- Turn the heat off and use an immersion or standing blender to puree the soup until it's as smooth as possible. (It will be relatively thick and creamy when it's done.)
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The final color on your soup might vary, depending on the richness of the stock you use.