Friday, October 15, 2010

Let Them Eat Cauliflower

The other day I found a giant head of cauliflower from a farm in upstate New York (whose name escapes me). Instead of roasting it as I have the last few I've purchased I decided to use it for soup instead. Being a cold rainy night last night it seemed perfect for soup.

I rendered a little bacon, removed the strips, added some butter, and cooked half an onion and some crushed garlic cloves until they were all lightly browned. Then I roughly chopped the head of cauliflower, tossed it into the pot, sweated it all down, and added some chicken stock to cook it until it was tender.

After that I put in a little milk and cream and pureed it all with my immersion blender. Once it was completely pureed I crumbled about a third of a pound of Stilton from Neal's Yard Dairy. I also chopped some green onion which I used for a garnish along with some crumbled bacon, additional Stilton, and some tiny cauliflower florets.

This soup is my take on a traditional cream of cauliflower soup. In culinary school I learned how to make this soup for the first time. At least I learned the traditional way of making this soup which is called Crème du Barry. Now you may be saying, Nate, 'Barry' is not the french word for cauliflower! At least you'll be saying this if you are my wife and you know how to speak French. Having only taken five years of French in high school and growing up in a French-speaking family this did not occur to me in culinary school.

The Barry in Crème du Barry refers to Comtesse du Barry. Comtesse du Barry was a woman who had a great love for cauliflower, so much so that it almost interfered with her other great love of having an affair with the king of France. The latter love eventually lead to her being beheaded in a guillotine during the Reign of Terror.

The thing I love about Comtesse du Barry is that she covered her bases. If she wasn't going to be remembered for having sex with Louis XV then at least she had the whole cauliflower soup thing to fall back on. She was a woman with a plan.

And that, my friends, is smart aristocratic thinking.

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