Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Velouté de chou-fleur / Cream of cauliflower

I have been ignoring this vegetable for a long time now. When I go to the market and pass by the stand of cauliflowers, I look away and act like I didn’t see it. I act like you do when you come face to face with somebody that you don’t want to see: you pretend to gaze at the window of a hardware store (it was the closest), or you start an incoherent conversation with your neighbor until the person passes you. "Wiiihou, it was close".
I have nothing against this vegetable; we had no argument or anything like that, we just decided at a certain period of my life that it was better for us, especially for me, to go separate ways. It was a mutual agreement.
If I had to explain my story with the cauliflower, I have to go back four years ago, to when I was in college. To make it short and simple, because the university that I attended was far away from home, I was staying at my cousin’s house. She is married and has three children. She has always been very nice to me, considering me like her own daughter. At her house, it’s her husband who cooks. His cuisine is what I would call: a fatty, greasy, meat-lover and spicy cuisine. I wasn’t a big fan of it. One day, he was coming back from the market with a basket full of cauliflowers. I taught: “for once we are going to have some vegetables”. I remember we had for dinner: fried cauliflowers and cauliflower gratin. But then, he decided to take the cauliflower to the next level; so we had for the next 5 days all kind of recipes that have as main ingredient…you guessed it: Cauliflower. It has been fried, broiled, watery (actually it was supposed to be boiled), beignets of cauliflowers, salad of cauliflowers. The walls of the apartment smelled like a big cauliflower, the air smelled like cauliflower and I even had a dream that I won the lottery but they gave me instead a cauliflower. After going back home for the weekend, I promised my self not to eat or touch or even talk about the C vegetable anymore.
Last week, while doing my grocery shopping, I wanted to buy some lettuce which happened to be right by this big pile of cauliflower. “Oh my god, what should I do? Should I ignore it, take my lettuce and run or should I go and talk to it?” I have to say, it was pretty emotional, me and the cauliflower. I took my lettuce and the cauliflower with me but wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this old forgotten friend.
The only recipe that I have never had with cauliflower in it was: a soup. I tried this cream of cauliflowers with curry and a North African spice called “Ras El-Hanout” which gives a hint of spice yet a sweet flavor.
Oh and I forgot to say: “and they live happily ever after”.

-1 cauliflower
-1 large shallot, chopped
-1 garlic clove
-2 tbsp butter
-1 tsp mild curry
-1 tsp Ras El-Hanout
-2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt, pepper

Heat the butter in a large pot and cook the shallots, garlic, and spices for 5min, stirring frequently. Stir in the cauliflower flowers and cook for another 5min, then add the chicken broth, cover and cook for about 20 to 30min or until the flowers are tender. Uncover and let the liquid reduce by nearly half.
Puree the soup with a hand blender until well blended. Pour in the cream and stir for about 1min. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

In francais please:

-1 chou-fleur
-1 grosse echalote
-1 gousse d’ail
-2 c.s de beurre
- 1 c.c de curry
-1 c.c de Ras El-Hanout
-500ml de bouillon de volaille
-50ml de crème fraiche
-Sel, poivre

Faites chauffer le beurre dans une cocotte. Faites-y revenir l’echalote, l’ail et les epices pendant 5min en melangeant regulierment. Ajouter les fleurs de chou-fleur et laisser mijoter 5min, puis verser le bouillon de volaille, couvrir, et laisser cuire 20 a 30min jusqu’a ce que les fleurs soient tendres. Enlever le couvercle et laisser reduire le liquide de moitie. Mixer le tout, ajouter la crème fraiche et melanger pendant 1min environ. Assaisonner a votre gout et servir de suite.


wheresmymind said...

I get nervous around the white devil flower!! However, I've come to appreciate it roasted with garlic and olive oil...mmmm

Almost Vegetarian said...

It is wonderful that you have come face-to-face with cauliflower and WON. It is such an easy veg: Lovely in soup (as you so cleverly discovered), marvelous in curry, wonderful simply roasted, and great with a cheese sauce (as I am planning to do tomorrow - simply roast the cauliflower and make a white sauce with cheese). Good for you!