Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Madhuma Thompson

Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower (about 1kg), cut into bite-size florets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juiceScant ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For garnish: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives and/or green onions

Preheat the oven to 220C. If desired, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.

On the baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly and evenly coated in oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until the cauliflower is tender and caramelised on the edges, 25 to 35 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes.

When the cauliflower is almost done, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the stock.

Reserve 4 of the prettiest roasted cauliflower florets for garnish. Then transfer the remaining cauliflower to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to give the flavours time to meld.

When the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Blend the soup until smooth. Add the butter and blend until incorporated. Add the lemon juice and nutmeg and blend again. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt if required or a squeeze of lemon for more zing. Blend again.

Reheat before serving. Top each bowl of soup with one roasted cauliflower floret and a sprinkle of chopped parsley, green onion and/or chives.

This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about four days, or for several months in the freezer.