WEEKDAYS 1e|12c|p

Cauliflower Soup with Fried Polenta Croutons

Mario Batali
Servings: 8
1 to 2 hr
Part 1 of 2

Comforting creamy cauliflower & leek soup served with fried polenta...could anything be better on a blustery fall day?

  • Ingredients
  • step-by-step directions
Cauliflower Soup with Fried Polenta Croutons
  • Cauliflower Soup
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Head Cauliflower (roughly chopped, reserve 1/2 cup florets for garnish)
  • 2 Leeks (thinly sliced, dark green parts removed)
  • 1 Bunch Thyme
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (shaved)
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts (lightly toasted)
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Polenta Croutons
  • 2 cups Quick-Cooking Polenta
  • 6 cups Water
  • For the Soup:
  • Heat Olive Oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the Cauliflower, Leeks, 5 Thyme Sprigs, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Sauté until Vegetables begins to soften and caramelize (about 8 minutes). Add the hot water and Milk and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, until the Vegetables have softened. Remove from heat. Remove and discard Thyme Sprigs. Working in batches, blend soup to a smooth velvety consistency. Transfer back into Dutch Oven. Bring to a simmer. Serve soup warm garnished with Polenta Croutons, Fried Cauliflower Florets, Toasted Pine Nuts, Pomegranate Seeds, a drizzle of Olive Oil and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • For the Polenta Croutons:
  • Preheat 2-inches of Vegetable Oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven to 350°F.
  • Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stream Polenta into the boiling water and whisk to combine. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.  Pour smooth mixture into a sheet pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth surface of Polenta. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set. Remove pan and cut Polenta into 1-inch squares. Working in batches, drop Polenta into Frying Oil. Fry Polenta until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drop a few sprigs of Thyme into the Frying Oil while frying the Polenta Croutons and remove after a few seconds. Remove Fried Polenta and Thyme to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with Salt immediately.
  • Fry reserved Cauliflower Florets in the same oil, until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon, season with Salt and set aside.
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