Cauliflower has become such an on-trend ingredient it makes me wonder how long its popularity streak will last. I think it will eventually die down (perhaps it has already) but there are a few devout cauliflower fans out there. My mum was one, having always preferred it on the overcooked side; most-often simply steamed with Thai chilli dipping sauce or in a stir-fry of noodles laden with soy sauce. I have always been a bit ‘meh’ about the veg myself, being a bit prone to the side effects of crop dusting (who isn’t when it comes to cauli?!). But then I had it roasted with loads of spices and tossed with savoury, zingy herbs like tarragon and parsley … and there was no turning back.
This soup is pretty much a throw-it-in-the-pot dinners, and it does help to already have a jar of pre-made dukkah already lurking in your storecupboard. When I was in the coromandel in summer I went a bit mad and bought a lot of macadamia products (my favourite nut and also very commonly grown in the area). One of said delights was a bag of macadamia dukkah. Oh it’s just so good. And because dukkah doesn’t last forever, I had to generously sprinkle this soup with all that and then some. (Oh, and apparently the addition of a little turmeric in this soup will help with the smelly side effects mentioned earlier.)
Cauliflower soup with caramelised butter
1/2 head medium cauliflower, broken into small florets
knob of butter
1 teaspoon dukkah, plus extra to serve
large pinch ground turmeric
350–450ml unsweetened almond milk
pinch coconut sugar or brown sugar
lemon juice, for squeezing
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the caramelised butter
40g unsalted butter
First, get your butter caramelising. Heat the butter in a small pan over the lowest heat. The whey will begin to separate. Cook until the white solids start to turn golden brown, shaking the pan from side to side every now and then. It should take 10–15 minutes but keep your eye on the butter otherwise it might burn.
Meanwhile, make the soup. Melt the butter in a pan until foaming. Add the cauliflower pieces and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the dukkah and turmeric and let it fry for another 2 minutes over medium heat.
Pour in the almond milk to cover the cauliflower, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is nice and tender. Use a hand-held stick blender to blitz the soup until smooth (or if you like it chunky, then chunky). Add the sugar and season to taste, adding a bit more dukkah if you like. Just before serving, squeeze over a little lemon juice, sprinkle with plenty of dukkah and drizzle with the caramelised butter.
(Recipe adapted from Magic Soup, Orion, 2015)