I love making dinner out of whatever bits and pieces I can find in the kitchen. Most of the time this works quite well, especially with accessible internet recipes and my favorite cookbooks on hand.
Last night I opened up my Alice Waters’ Vegetables book to the chapter on cauliflower and tried a new recipe: Cauliflower Soup with Salmon Caviar. Did I have salmon caviar on hand? No. But I had a beautiful cruciferous head of yummyness and some fresh Italian parsley from the CSA farm box. What could go wrong?
The soup was lovely to look at, but without the contrasting tang (and salt) of roe it was rather dull – even when topped with green onions and the divine butter-fried croutons that I whipped up in the sauté pan. I did not have the recommended dollop of crème fraîche. A few shavings of cheese helped, but….eh.
Today I brought out the leftovers hoping for improvement (homemade soup does usually taste better the next day). It was thicker than the night before, more like porridge than soup. I nuked it for only a minute (the recipe said to serve tepid or room temperature). I tasted the same blandness. Doctored it up with a drizzle of olive oil, more salt and pepper, and a heavy sprinkling of Parmesan. Suddenly it had the consistency and flavor of grits. I invented faux grits.
Vegetarians, rejoice! Just what you’ve always wanted! But wait, aren’t regular grits already vegetarian? Who needs faux grits? No one, I guess – unless there are no grits in the kitchen.
- Boil one head of cauliflower in salted water until tender.
- Roughly purée in food processor with some of the reserved pot liquor.
- Return to pot and thin with milk to desired consistency. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Add some Italian parsley and simmer 2 minutes more.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve with green onions, butter-fried croutons, and something far more exciting than a few shaves of cheese, please. Get original recipe here.