I am a huge fan of cauliflower soup, yet it’s rare that I find a version that’s just right. Often the soup is grainy or bland, redolent of cauliflower yet missing an extra oomph that keeps me coming back for more. So, in my pursuit of the right stuff, I decided to team up cauliflower with a few of my favorite ingredients. First, I added my new best tuber friend – the celery root. Celery root, or celeriac, is mild with a softy nutty flavor. Combined with cauliflower, it smooths and mellows adding a hint of celery while permitting the cauliflower to shine through. I also added a chunk of Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. As the soup simmers, the cheese dissolves into the stock, lending depth and an elusive umami flavor that begs for more tasting. The soup is puréed and dressed with a splash of cream, adding richness without overwhelming. The final flourish is a drizzle of truffle oil which elevates this weeknight staple to a holiday standard. For a garnish, I scatter a few crispy kale leaves over the soup. The salty roasted leaves add lovely contrasting crunch to the creamy soup. You might find yourself ferreting through your bowl in search for more.
Cauliflower and Celery Root Soup with Truffle Oil and Crispy Kale
The crispy kale is an optional addition to this luxurious soup. The kale leaves may be roasted in advance and refrigerated in an air-tight container until use. Be sure to make extra; they are a delicious and healthy snack. Serves 4-6.
For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium celery root, peeled, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 medium cauliflower, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 inch chunk of Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the crispy kale:
6 (or more) kale leaves, halved, tough stems removed
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the soup:
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery root and cauliflower; sauté 3 minutes without browning. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add chicken stock and cheese. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Carefully transfer in batches to a food processor. Purée until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in cream, salt, pepper and additional chicken stock if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Simmer 5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of truffle oil. Garnish with crispy kale leaves.
Prepare the kale:
Toss kale leaves with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 F. oven until crisp without blackening, 25 minutes. Crumble a few leaves in the soup before serving. (Kale leaves may be prepared up to one day in advance.)