Cauliflower + Leek Soup with Bacon Gremolata
I was hoping to wait until temps cooled down to post a new soup recipe – because really, what’s better on a crisp autumn day than homemade soup? – but unfortunately the weather in southern California isn’t remotely interested in cooperating with me. Seriously, a high of 79 degrees on the first day of October?? I miss seasons. And pumpkins. And apple cider, corn mazes, falling leaves and hay rides. A lot. :(
What was this post about again? Oh right, soup. This recipe is actually a combination of two I found, each with their own individual merits. The first is from the Spring 2012 edition of the British magazine Women & Home – Feel Good Food. I was drawn to this recipe because 1) it contains a lot of garlic, which.is.awesome. and 2) I’m a big fan of gremolata. For those unfamiliar with the term, gremolata is a chopped herb condiment typically composed of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Here, I’ve added toasted breadcrumbs and, in what I consider a stroke of sheer genius, crumbled bacon. That’s where the second recipe comes in. Featured on the foodie blog Authentic Plate, it substitutes bacon fat for butter in the process of cooking the leeks and garlic. This makes the recipe both slightly lower in cholesterol and considerably higher in bacon-y goodness (in other words: better).
The recipe below yields a much more flavorful soup than most other versions I’ve tried, and is extremely easy to prepare from start to finish. Enjoy, and buon appetito!
CAULIFLOWER + LEEK SOUP WITH BACON GREMOLATA
2 strips of bacon
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small heads of cauliflower, florets separated and large ones chopped
2 cups hot chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
Zest of two fresh lemons
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat bacon in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. The bacon should be crispy enough to crumble in a later step. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain.
2. Add sliced leeks and garlic to rendered bacon fat and cook over gentle heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until softened. Transfer cooked leeks and garlic to a larger saucepan or soup pot.
3. Add the cauliflower to the previously-used skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes (this step brings out the nutty flavor in the cauliflower). Transfer cauliflower to the pot with other vegetables. Add the chicken stock and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until the florets are tender. Blend (using an immersion or standing blender) until soup is smooth. Taste, season (it will need a fair amount of salt!) and add lemon juice.
4. While the soup is cooking, make the gremolata. Add the oil and breadcrumbs to a frying pan and cook on gentle heat until crisp and golden. Stir through the garlic, lemon zest and parsley. Crumble the bacon and add to the mixture, stirring well to combine.
5. Serve the soup warm with gremolata sprinkled on top.