Are you looking for an exquisite way of using this season’s best ingredients? Try this delicious cauliflower fennel miso soup with crushed almonds, lime and chilli infused olive oil and rye crackers. It’s not that difficult to make and it’s honestly one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted! It’s also very healthy and good for digestion thanks to the miso and fennel!
Cauliflower + Miso = Love
Maybe you’ve come across my recently published article where I reviewed The Atelier, Edinburgh. Well, one of the dishes I’ve tasted had cauliflower and miso purée and cauliflower steaks. I am really not a fan of this autumn vegetable, and quite often use it for its health benefits rather than anything else. I’m still not quite sure what chef Maciek Zielinski did to that cauliflower, but it was so tasty and so memorable. It was, for me, as if I was tasting an entirely new vegetable I had never before come across. The steaks were slightly crunchy and the miso went so well in the purée, enough not to overpower any other flavour, but just add more of it.
Colour yellow, colour purple
Maybe you’ve also read in some of my recent articles that I’ve started getting my fruit and veg from this lovely local greengrocer Dig-In where they support local producers. Anyway, there I was looking for nothing in particular when I came across purple and yellow cauliflowers. I’ve been looking for those for ages, just never managed to be at the same time in the same place with these beautiful vegetables. Because it was obvious that the timing was finally right, I captured them and went home. I didn’t quite know what to use them for until two days ago when I realised they were starting to go bad. I tend to be a satisficer rather than a maximiser, but I just couldn’t make up my mind whether I wanted to make a puree, a purple soup, or something completely different.
‘Nevermind, I’ll just grab an entirely different one’
That’s how this recipe started to develop, with me going back to Dig-In and getting a normal cauliflower this time. By the time I got back home I decided to make a cauliflower soup and use the yellow and purple ones to sear them and use the florets to decorate the soup. To improve the slightly boring beige colour of normal cauliflower, I decided to add some carrots. I had also decided to add miso to the soup, as The Atelier’s purée was still stuck on my mind. I had both brown miso and white miso, but decided to use the white, as it is slightly less pungent and intense. It also has a smoother texture, thus keeping my soup smooth.
Inside the mind of a chef
I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix foodie series, yet my favourites are Chef’s Table, The Mind of a Chef and Cooked. (I definitely recommend you watch these if you are a foodie.) Recently when I’ve been developing recipes I’ve been trying to put myself in the shoes of a chef. I try to think about the ingredients and combinations they would mix to build great dishes.
Inside my mind
Since I’m a colourmaniac and the soup I was planning on making was already based on three different colours, I started developing that. I realised I would also like to add some green, and then thought that lime would be a nice additional flavour. That’s how the infused olive oil idea was born. I’ve also developed a passion for nasturtium – I mean, they grow everywhere in Edinburgh! I also thought something slightly more radish-y would work to add another layer of flavour. Therefore nasturtium was not only a beautiful addition, but also a logical one. Finally, I felt the need to add some crunch and something nutty to enhance the earthiness of the soup. This is how I decided to add rye crackers (leftovers from my recent birthday party) and almonds.
The recipe: Cauliflower Fennel Miso Soup
If you’d like to make your own rye crackers, try my super easy recipe.
- 50g butter
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large fennel root, sliced
- 1 large cauliflower, broken into large florets
- 4 carrots, halved
- 1 tsp salt
- 150g good quality white miso
- 1 cup of olive oil
- zest from 1 lime
- 1 sliced birds eye chilli
- For the sautéed cauliflower (optional)
- 1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets (I used a small yellow one and a small purple one)
- 30g butter
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 handfuls rye crackers, crushed
- 10 young nasturtium leaves
- 2 handfuls of almonds, slightly crushed
- First of all heat the butter in a large pot and sauté the garlic, yellow onion and fennel seeds. Cook them on medium heat until the yellow onion becomes slightly transparent.
- Add the fennel and sauté it for a 3-4 minutes on high heat, just enough to release its great flavour.
- Add the carrots and cauliflower together with 2l of water. Bring to boil and cook for about 45 minutes until the carrots and cauliflowers are soft.
- In the meantime prepare the olive oil. In a small saucepan add the oil, lime zest and chilli. Bring to first boil then remove immediately from the heat and let cool. Olive oil burns very easily, so make sure to remove it from the heat as soon as you see small bubbles on the surface, or else it will become bitter and unhealthy! It is important you prepare the oil early, as the longer it stays with the zest and chillies, the more flavoursome it will get.
- Prepare the sautéed cauliflower by heating the butter in a pan and adding the fennel seeds and cauliflower florets and stirring constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes on high heat.
- Once the soup is done, purée the soup in a blender or food processor, then return it to the pot. Add the white miso and stir well until thoroughly combined.
- Serve the soup hot with sprinkled rye crackers, nasturtium leaves and crushed almonds.
Love, happyholism and nom-nom,