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A Rich but Light Soup

April 01, 1993|BETTY ROSBOTTOM

Amazingly, this thick, rich cauliflower soup is made with no butter or cream and only a light topping of melted cheese.

Serve it with a salad of spinach, red leaf lettuce and walnuts tossed in a mustard vinaigrette. Follow it with a warm compote of dried winter fruits simmered in red wine and cinnamon, served with vanilla frozen yogurt and oatmeal cookies. It would also make a fine opener for a hearty cool-weather dinner of roast chicken, leg of lamb or braised pork chops.

The best thing about this soup is that it improves in flavor if made a day or two in advance.

CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH WHOLE-WHEAT CROUTONS AND CHEESE

4 1/2 tablespoons oil

3/4 cup chopped peeled carrots

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped onion

6 cups cauliflower florets

7 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups low-fat or nonfat milk

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt

16 (1/2-inch-thick) slices whole-wheat or white French bread, toasted

1 1/4 cups shredded Edam or Gouda cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably Italian parsley

Heat oil in heavy, deep-sided pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute, stirring constantly, until just slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and stock and bring mixture to simmer. Lower heat and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Puree soup in food processor, blender or food mill. Return mixture to pan and stir in milk and cayenne. Season to taste with salt. (Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring, until hot.)

When ready to serve, place 8 oven-proof soup bowls on 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets. Ladle soup into each bowl and top with 2 slices bread. Sprinkle 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese over bread slices in each bowl.

Broil soup 5 to 6 inches from heat source, leaving door open, until cheese just melts, 30 to 40 seconds. Garnish each serving with little parsley. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

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