Easy, chic and cheap recipes: delicate cauliflower leaf and pecorino soupPosted by Fiona Nevile in Starters and Soups | 24 comments
For years it has hurt me to throw away the green outer leaves of the cauliflower. I have simmered them for the chickens in the past but mainly they are added to our kitchen compost bin.
Having had the tip from John Coe – that all the leaves on the sprouting broccoli plant are edible – I decided to experiment with the cauli leaves this week. I chopped up the main stalk and tore the leaves away from the fibrous stems. Then I simmered them for about twenty minutes in vegetable stock. They looked really unappetising when I lifted the lid. So I liquidised the leaves using my stick blender. The basic soup tasted delicious. Delicate and sweet. I was amazed.
I thickened it with three tiny cooked new potatoes that were knocking about beside the cooker, added a few herbs and spices and a handful of pecorino cheese. Any strong tasting cheese would do. The secret is just to add a little to enhance rather than drown the gentle cauliflower flavours.
Danny wasn’t keen on tasting it.
“I don’t want to try it as I know that it’s made with some hoary old leaves – I peeked in the pot when you were out at work.”
“Oh come on! I want to hear your opinion.”
Danny tasted a teeny fairy sized drop and then made a lunge for the saucepan.
“It’s really good.”
So next time, don’t buy a trimmed cauliflower. Get one with leaves on and enjoy this soup. Apart from the cheese, potatoes and spices it’s almost free.
Delicate cauliflower leaf and pecorino soup recipe for four
- The outer leaves from a medium head of cauliflower
- Vegetable stock to cover (I used a tsp of vegetable stock powder)
- 1 clove of garlic or a tsp of garlic granules
- Quarter tsp of powdered mace
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- Three cooked new potatoes or a cooked medium potato (skinned)
- 25g of pecorino cheese (stilton/mature cheddar/parmesan)
- Lashings of ground white pepper
- A squeeze of lemon juice to enhance the flavours
- Strip the outer leaves from a cauliflower and remove the thick, stringy central stems. Chop up the central stalk.
- Put these in a saucepan, cover with vegetable stock and simmer until soft (about 15-20 minutes).
- Add the cooked potatoes, the spices and herbs. Liquidise using a stick blender.
Add the finely grated cheese and stir to dissolve.
- Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of fresh basil leaves and hot crusty rolls.
Leave a reply