Orange Cauliflower. Golden Cauliflower. Cheddar Cauliflower. Do not adjust your set. Do not run from the room screaming. This is not an alien brain and I am not Orson Wells. To prove it I plan to take this oddly colored vegetable, the subject of this week’s Market Matters from the Hollywood Farmers Market, and make Golden Cauliflower Soup with Curried Apple, then eat it.
Though I can promise that is not the tale of little-orange-brained-green-men and their plan to take over the earth. It is, however, a mysterious bit of science non-fiction nonetheless. You see, this other-worldly cauliflower was discovered in a Canadian Marsh more than 30 years ago. The bright orange hue and the tell-tale shape announced to the world that a new breed of cauliflower had hybridized itself in that faraway marsh, without the aid of man. Dah Da Da, Duhhhh!
It was quickly harvested and sent to the laboratory for investigation. Cauliflower was confirmed. But the version found that day in Canada was lacking something in the flavor department so a few not so mad scientists began cross-breeding it with the more familiar, more tasty white version. Well, after decades of tinkering the orange cauliflower was born. It can range in color from a creamy yellow, through gold and all the way to outright pumpkiny! It is higher in several vitamins than white cauliflower and is a good source of (you guessed it) beta-carotene too. The best part is it holds its golden beauty throughout all kinds of cooking.
Giving me an idea. My first reaction when I saw this cauliflower was Aloo Gobi, a deeply golden dish with Indian flavors. So I decided to make a soup using that as my inspiration. But this cauliflower already had the golden hues of curry, so I thought I’d keep the soup simple. Letting the unmistakable subtle flavors and unusual color of my cauliflower shine. But I did bring some of that Indian spice to the bowl with a garnish of curried apples. Sweet and spicy. Just right with an out of this world Orange Cauliflower Soup.
- 6 T unsalted butter
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped, washed and dried
- 1⁄2 t curry powder
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow, gold or orange cauliflower, trimmed cored and cut into thin slices
- 1⁄4 c dry white vermouth
- 1⁄2 t kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 6 c chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- lemon juice, to taste
- 1 pn cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1⁄4 t white pepper, optional
- 1 apple, such as Fuji
In a heavy bottom Dutch oven set over medium heat melt 5 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil.Add leeks, onion, carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and sweat, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes longer.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add the vermouth. Cook until liquid is almost gone, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, and using an immersion blend puree the soup to the texture of your liking. Season the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and more salt to taste. Return the soup to the burner set to low to keep it warm until serving. It may alternatively be made ahead up to 6 hours and gently reheated.
While the soup is warming, core and cut the apple into 1/4″ dice. In a small saucepan melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the apple dice, white pepper, and curry. Cook stirring often until the apple begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
Divide the soup between 6 soup bowls. Sprinkle with apple and serve.
You can of course, substitute white cauliflower for orange or gold. But in that case I would change the carrot to parsnip to keep a creamy color.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD