Roasted Fennel and Cauliflower SoupJanuary 16, 2018 By Cathy — 6 Comments
This silky, simple soup packs an unexpected flavor punch thanks to golden roasted fennel.
So my son (the master of asking impossible questions) asked me the other day if I could choose one food to live on for the rest of my life, what would it be? Now I could have blown it off and said the obvious (pizza), but instead I really gave this some thought. Yes, pizza (thin crust, well done) would be near the top of that list, but was that just a knee jerk reaction?
I then decided on bread and cheese, but Max quickly nixed that choice pointing out that bread and cheese technically count as two foods. (A real stickler for the rules, this kid.) Should I chose something sweet…chocolate or ice cream? No, I think I would tire of that after one day, let alone a lifetime.
And then it came to me….soup! I can eat soup in any form and in any season. Simple soups with flavorful broth; hearty, chunky soups; bean soups flavored with salty pork; matzoh ball with tender poached chicken; or smooth, pureed vegetarian soups so soothing on a cold day. I could indeed live on soup for the rest of my days.
Well, my boy was very resistant to my one word answer of simply “soup”, knowing that the possibilities within that little word were infinite. But I was quick to point out that he couldn’t define the rules mid-game, he should have clearly established them up front. (Life is one big lesson isn’t it?) So I get to live on soup in every form and incarnation and he has to live with my unsatisfying answer.
But if I had to choose just one soup, one flavor, and in one form, it might very well be this roasted fennel and cauliflower soup. The fennel flavor is mellow and subtle after roasting it to golden goodness and the soup is pureed until it is impossibly smooth and silky. I throw in a few pieces of cauliflower to roast with the fennel for garnish and I love the pop of color and punch of flavor from those green fennel fronds sprinkled on top for serving. You can make this extra creamy with a splash of heavy cream, but that’s purely optional and not necessary if you want to skip the extra calories.
Are you a soup junkie like me? If you could have only one food for the rest of your life what would you choose?
- 1 fennel bulb, ends trimmed and cored (reserve fennel fronds for garnish)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed and coarsely chopped
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
- *Garnish with reserved roasted cauliflower and fennel fronds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet tray with nonstick foil.
Thinly slice the fennel and toss with olive oil and lay in an even layer on the sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt and roast until golden, about 20 mins. (Add one or two cauliflower florets to roast with the fennel for garnish if desired.)
While the fennel roasts, start the soup. Melt the butter in a medium pot or dutch oven set over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 5 mins. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 mins.
Add the cauliflower, stock and season liberally with salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the roasted fennel to the pot.
Simmer, covered, until cauliflower is tender, about 20 mins.
Puree with an immersion blender or in a blender in batches.
Add the cream if desired and adjust the seasoning.
Serve garnished with fennel fronds and roasted cauliflower if desired.
- Serves 6 as a starter.
- Substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.