This bowl of comfort—ready in about just 15 minutes—sheds new light on cauliflower with the addition of lemon.
This is a recipe in which the supporting ingredients—in this case, ginger and lemon— bring life to cauliflower, a vegetable that can seem plain and cabbagey but is actually rather delicate and subtly sweet. Refined with assertive ginger and lemon, cauliflower can be surprisingly light and fresh, a bit edgy but not at all intrusive.
The cauliflower, citrus, and ginger combination works so well that I use it often in my kitchen. Oven roasting adds a wonderful hint of smokiness to this trio, but turning them into soup is one of the fastest recipes in my cauliflower repertoire—it takes just 15 minutes. Naturally smooth and velvety, this soup doesn’t require any butter or cream and is nearly pure vegetable.
FOR THE SOUP
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 heaping teaspoons freshly grated ginger, plus more to taste
- 1 pound cored cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 3⅓ cups vegetable broth, hot
- 1 bay leaf,
- 4 long strips fresh lemon peel,
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
- Fine sea salt and Ground pepper
FOR THE TOPPING
- Freshly grated lemon zest
- A few black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle
- Olive oil
- In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes or until soft and golden but not brown.
- Add the ginger and sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower, hot vegetable broth, bay leaf, lemon peel, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is al dente.
- Remove the bay leaf and lemon peel and discard. Use a slotted ladle or spoon to remove about 7 ounces (200 g) of the cauliflower florets and set them aside.
- Purée the remaining soup in a food processor or blender, or with an immersion blender. If the soup is in a food processor or blender, return it to the pot.
- Season to taste with additional ginger, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Break the reserved cauliflower into bite-size pieces, if necessary, and gently stir it into the soup, or use it as a topping.
- Divide the soup among bowls, sprinkle with the grated lemon zest and crushed peppercorns, and drizzle with a little olive oil.