Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cream of Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Fritters – The Best Soup I've Ever Made?

I arrived back to San Francisco late last night, weary from traveling, and my very busy week in NYC, and despite planning to sleep in, I woke up very early, excited to finish this amazing cream of cauliflower with blue cheese fritters video recipe.

Either that, or I'm still on east coast time.
Soup is not usually a subject associated with thrilling culinary experiences. Soup is comforting, soothing, soul-warming – not something that chefs normally day-dream about. This soup was a different story. It may be the single greatest soup I have every made.

Sometimes an idea for a recipe pops into my head and even before I make it, I have a pretty good idea on what the results will be like. But, when I went over this combination in my head, I really had no idea how successful it would be. To say I was happy with the results would be a serious understatement.

I was pretty sure blue cheese would be a nice addition to cauliflower soup, but the challenge was what would be the best delivery system for the sharp, funky cheese. I looked at many fritter recipes, but nothing was inspiring me. Then, for whatever reason, I thought about Pâte à choux.

Pâte à choux is an old-school, eggy pastry dough used to make things like éclairs and cream puffs. I though this would make a much lighter fritter than the traditional flour and baking powder versions, and that certainly turned out to be the case.

The dough fried up perfectly – beautifully golden brown outside, yet tender and moist inside – the perfect enclosure for the molten blue cheese. The combination of these light puffs and the earthy soup was magnificent. I can't remember ever being so happy eating a soup.

I really hope you give this a try, and even if you can't summon the courage to make the fritters (what's wrong with you?), I still think the soup alone is well worth making. Enjoy!

For the fritters (a small batch - about 12 fritters):
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 oz crumbled, very firm blue cheese

For the soup:
1 onion
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1 head cauliflower
1 quart water or stock
nutmeg to taste
cayenne to taste
1/2 cup cream


Anonymous said...

Wow chef--thank you!! That soup looks great! Plus the fritters are an awesome idea. I have been hoping you would soon show us a Choux how-to.. This seems like a great veggie style hot soup on a chilly just like I love your chicken lemongrass thai soup, I'll add this to the recipe list.

Holidays are coming up--your porkporken would be a great recipe to film to go with this soup!

Birder said...

That looks great. Anyone else get the idea to make a metric tonne of the fritters and use the soup as a dip?

blogagog said...

Hey, this is way off-topic and I won't be offended if you don't approve the post, but I know that you're into the 'grass-fed beef' thing, so I thought I'd give your east coast ppl a head's up:

ShopRite, a fairly large supermarket chain in the NY/NJ/CT area has grass-fed beef tenderloins (whole only, around 6-8 lbs) on sale for $3.99/lb this week.

FWIW, down here in the boondocks of Louisiana it's $13.99 not on sale.... Dang, I wish I was a yankee.

Shagun Khare said...


Pastamama said...

Chef John,
First time to enjoy your blog and I'm STAYING! So many great recipes. My connection is dial up so it takes too long to enjoy the videos hopefully I'll upgrade so I can enjoy everything. I arrived looking for a no knead bread recipe and won't be leaving anytime soon. Thank you for a great well written site I can't push myself away from the monitor. That's a good sign, looking forward to more time here.

Scott - Boston said...

Great idea, Birder.

Chef, this looks like a Hall of Fame recipe. I've already told people how good it'll be and I haven't even made the damn thing yet. I'm salivating.

Now the important stuff: at the 4:30 mark of the video did you really do the whole forward/reverse editing technique?!? Holy Toledo!!! Did you really think you'd get that by me!?!? The last time I'd seen that done successfully was on a Banana Splits episode, when Fleegle seemed to be infinitely slipping/windmilling on a freshly mopped floor. Nice going! You oughta win some kind of award.

Can't wait to try the soup, Chef.

Scott - Boston

Grams Pam said...

If you read no further than the first sentence of this post, know this: YOU MUST MAKE THIS SOUP!

Chef John saying "it's the best" guarantees I'll try the recipe, and am I ever glad I did!

Like Birder, those fritters got to me, so I doubled the recipe. Glad I did too, because no one touched the crusty baguette but nary a single fritter crumb escaped.

Thank you again for your inspiration, Chef John!

Eliza said...

Chef John, i don't fave a deep-fryer. What happens if i bake the fritters? Thank you.

Chef John said...

must be fried, and I don't have a deep fryer either! just use a small pot.

Eliza said...

thank you. OBVIOUSLY i couldn't help myself and made a batch before getting your reply. i ended up frying them in a pan. wasted some oil, but they were in-cre-di-ble! the outside was so crunchy, and the inside was so soft and cheesy. when i die, i want to be burried in one of these! fritter heaven!

Tammie said...

I made this a one of the best soups I have ever had. Also, very easy. Gave the reciepe to mom and grandma they both love it.

Razors Edge said...

is there a substitute that will work in place of the blue cheese?

Chef John said...

really, no.

Razors Edge said...

thanks for posting this video... didn't realize how easy it is to make a basic soup that tastes good and on the cheap.

Bought an immersion blender last week and I've tried cauliflower, brocolli and the mushroom. I found that adding a lot of cayenne while the onions are sweating is perfect for my tastes.. and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic :)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic soup and so easy too. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I'm already imagining variations on the blue cheese fritters. Oh and cauliflower is my new favorite veggie!

anna said...

I noticed you said there really isn't a substitute for the blue cheese but I'm not a fan of blue cheese, can I use feta cheese for the fritters? Maybe freeze the feta first so it's not too soft?

I'm making a list of all the recipes I want to try from your site. Thank you for your videos, they're really helping me.

Chef John said...

yes you can!

Erik said...

Hi Chef John, an amazing soup, love the nutmeg flavour with a touch of heat from the cayenne. What do you use for oil when cooking the fritters? We used Canola Oil and it does not seem to have a very high heat temperature prior to it starting to smoke.

Love your site and have recommended the site to many Canadians in the Great White North.


Anonymous said...

Chef John,

I made cauliflower soup but it came out gritty. I'm not sure what I did wrong. What kind of immersion blender did you use?



Chef John said...

cuisinart i think. sounds like it wasnt soft enough.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried using a different cheese either than the blue? Brie, goats, feta?

Anonymous said...

I reserved half the cauliflower, seasoned with a little garlic, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper and baked at 450 for 30 minutes. When the soup was ready for the blender combined everything and blended. Amazing depth! It will darken the soup a little but adds amazing flavor!

NatashasMom said...

Hi Chef, is there an egg alternative for the fritters? They look amazing but my family doesnt eat eggs....I'm making the soup this week for sure! Thanks.

Chef John said...

Not realty. Are they allergic? They would NEVER know there is egg in there.

Brie said...

I dont like blue cheese, can I subtitute? thanks!

Lydia Romanin said...

Hi Chef John! My mom, sister and I always read your blog and I'm glad I searched "cauliflower" because these 2 recipes are AwEsome! I substituted bleu cheese w/feta cheese and it was amazing, and I also used spelt flour. The fritters turned out very tasty. I roasted the cauliflower 'til they were a little burnt on the edges and golden brown. Then I threw them into the soup and simmered them. Is it possible that I did not simmer for long end product did not end up as liquidy as your soup. My end product was more gritty...not as smooth. The only thing I could think of was that I didn't simmer for long enough. Your professional opinion? I want it to be liquidy the next time I make it.

Rain said...

Hi, Chef John!
I made this recipe tonight for dinner along with the fritters. Yummy! The only problem is that my soup tasted watery. I didn't use the chicken stock because my daughter is vegetarian; I used water instead. I used the amount called for in the recipe. After the cauliflower is simmered and soft, do I strain it before blending, or do I use all the liquid?
Also, will a vegetable stock work with the flavors instead of chicken stock?
Love the bleu cheese fritters...and I don't like bleu cheese.

Chef John said...

Yes, blend with the liquid. You can always take some out for a thicker soup. And yes, use vegetable stock instead! Better than water. Also, sounds like you needed more salt. Under-seasoned soups taste watery no matter what you do. ;)

Rain said...

Wow, Chef John! Thank you for such a fast reply. You rock - awesome!!!
Thank you very much for your help. Good to know about the salt - I had no idea. I'll be making this again, but with the vegetable broth. The fritters are super easy to make, and so worth it. Thanks for all your great recipes. :-)

Rain said...

Wow, Chef John! Thanks for such a fast reply. You rock!
Thanks for all the help and info. Good to know about the salt...and it worked! After reading your reply, I added more salt...VOILA! I added some cayenne and dash of hot sauce. Totally awesome. Love the soup and fritters, and both are so quick and easy to make.
Thanks for all your great recipes. :-)

Unknown said...

Being a lover of soup I made this recipe in its entirety last night...verbatim. It encompassed all the things that I like when selecting a recipe.
Simple and quick to make - ✔
Ingredients readily on hand - ✔
Very, very tasty - ✔
Worthy of a repeat performance - ✔
This is the first of your recipes that I have made since I discovered your blog just recently. You passed with flying colors and I will continue to put your blog and recipes at the top of my personal search engine when looking for that special recipe.