The cool autumn air has blown in a new French fusion restaurant only one block away from my apartment. The food there is terrific and it has become an inspiration to me for continuing to work with root vegetables, affordable and hearty staples through the fall and winter. And the French really know how to bring vegetables to a higher form. The new restaurant loves beets, serves them in all manner of ways with appetizer and entrees, so how could I not have come to love this place? During one of our lasts visits, they served us a complimentary amuse-bouche made of chilled cauliflower soup and what I think might have been avocado oil. It was a perfectly silky soup and inspired me to create a cauliflower soup of my own. —NakedBeet
Clean the cauliflower and chop into small florets and set aside. In a soup pot, saute the onions and garlic in the grapeseed oil. Once they are softened add in all the florets and saute for 1-3 minutes, stirring them up from the bottom once in a while. Add in the stock and 1 cup whole milk. Cook on medium heat until it just starts to boil, being careful for it not to come to a rolling boil. Take the pot off the heat and using a hand held blender, puree the soup until no large visible chunks are seen.
Clean and wash the shiitake mushrooms, cutting off and discarding the tough stem. Cut the mushrooms into long slices and saute them in the oil for 3-5 minutes until they become small but before they turn crispy. Salt the mushrooms while they’re cooking.
To the soup pot, add salt to taste, additional measures of ground coriander and nutmeg and the remaining 2 cups of milk. Puree the soup with your hand held blender again to create further creaminess. Gently heat the soup for 1-2 minutes to serve warm.
To finish, place a few watercress leaves, some sauteed mushrooms, and drizzles of truffle oil (a little goes a long way).