Cook's Illustrated Cauliflower Soup w/ Brown Butter Cauliflower "Croutons"

Cooks Illustrated is the only cooking magazine I don't subscribe to.

I understand their policy about not publishing recipes online. They don't have advertisers, so they want you to pay for an online subscription. It's business.

Now the man w/ the bow tie, the editor/founder of Cooks Illustrated is leaving because of contractual issues?
His goodbye letter was quite weird. I know it's parody, and folksy, but it is downright creepy if you ask me.

This guy should write horror stories and get out of the kitchen.

When I first started blogging almost 8 years ago, I posted a Cooks Illustrated recipe and they nicely wrote to me asking me to please take it down for copyright infringement.
I complied, but have never been their friend since.

I doubt they will ask me to remove this recipe this time, since I found it on the internet on Debby's site and others.

Even though C.I. and I are not "friends", I find their recipes are very good, always with an interesting twist, such as here, using the cauliflower pieces as croutons.

I liked this soup very much, however, I like Dorie Greenspan's version better, which uses chicken I will be combining the two, using Dorie's recipe w/ C.I.'s brown butter "croutons".

This is a very simple soup, using water as the base.
The stars were the brown butter cauliflower croutons....genius idea!

The soup looks like a veloute, a smooth, white velvety sauce.........a healthy option, sans cream, however, it does use a lot of butter.

C.I. Cauliflower Soup w/ Brown Butter "Croutons": (adapted from Cooks Illustrated & Feast for the Eyes)

1 head cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
salt and pepper
5 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Cut up 3/4 of the cauliflower head into thin slices. Cut the remaining 1/4 of the head into 1/2" florets (these will be the "croutons").

Cut up the leek and onion and saute on medium heat in 3 tbsp butter until translucent.
Add in the 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Add in half of the sliced cauliflower and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add in the rest of the sliced cauliflower (there will be more room in the pot once the cauliflower has cooked down) and simmer another 15 minutes. It should easily fall apart.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is velvety smooth.
Season w/ salt & pepper, and taste to adjust seasonings.

In a separate frying pan, heat 5 tbsp of butter on medium.
Add in the small 1/2" cauliflower florets and cook about 8 minutes, until the butter has a nice nutty smell, and the florets are browning.

Remove the florets to a bowl and splash w/ the 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar. The vinegar really adds a punch in soups (I use it in my lentil soup and brisket chili too).

Pour the brown butter into a separate vessel for drizzling.

Serve the soup in bowls, drizzle some brown butter over the bowl. Garnish w/ chives or parsley and top w/ the brown butter florets.



Anonymous said…
I'm not a fan of Cook's because they suggest, quite strongly, that their recipe is THE way to cook a dish. Cooking is all about sharing, not just the meal but techniques or ideas to make a recipe the way you like it. There is no Best Recipe.
I'm surprised he's leaving but I also found his letter creepy.
Bebe said…
The authoritarian guy with the bow tie won’t be missed. An incredibly underqualified snob, he bored senseless anyone who ever watched him. In my time I have been a pretty good cook and I know many others who are the same. Many of us were taught by mothers and grandmothers who knew the basics, so we were able to build on that when so-called “gourmet” cooking became trendy. (Ironically the “gourmet” cooking we associate with France was brought there from Italy by Catherine de Medici, but that’s another story.)

Recipes were meant to be shared. If bow tie tyrant only knew it, he would have gained more support for his pricey little publications if he’d allowed them to be gracious sharers - with credit and links. You can still access wonderful Gourmet magazine recipes online. And good ones from Martha Stewart. The joy of sharing. So buh-bye, Mr. Bow Tie. (end of rant)

Cauliflower is not a big sell in our household - I’d have to eat the whole thing - but this does sound delicious.
Bebe said…
PS. Will go and read his letter. He is creepy, so...
Mom said…
That letter! It appears bowtie man is a bit nuts and a lot scary. Love the recipe! I happen to have a cauliflower that needs using. Your recipes are always fab.
Natalia said…
As a child I wasn't a fan of cauliflower. Several years ago, I learned that you could roast this awesome vegetable which really adds flavor to it. This soup looks fabulous! We are hosting Christmas for the first time and I'm going to make this as a first course for our guests. I hope mine looks and tastes as good as yours Stacey!
Susan Gabriel said…
Stacey, loved the idea of the cauliflower croutons and brown butter drizzled - just so welcoming anytime butter is seen!
Never liked Chris Kimball on the TV show. When there are people like Jacques Pepin who has an obvious passion for cooking, sharing and teaching in a gentle manner, people like CK are unappealing. Cooking shows are 70% entertainment and 30% information. The format of him watching other people cook or bake while he was the overlord was very distasteful and condenscending. Never felt he was hands-on, but he must have been making lots of $$$. Now you Stacey have become my go to cook for inspiration and look, it's all in my email box. Thank you for keeping it REAL.
Unknown said…
okay woah, this is totally bizarro. I actually do like Cooks Illustrated, I appreciate their unique and out of the box methods often give good results, but I was not really a fan of Chris himself on the show, and after reading this I think he's nuts. What a strange way to leavea job. Creepy.
Anonymous said…
I hope this isn't a complaint--the letter from Christopher Kimball at The Toast that you linked in your post ( wasn't actually written by him. It's mocking his actually-published strange letters but it wasn't written by him. It was written by Mallory Ortberg.
Stacey Snacks said…
Thank you for letting us know this! I had no idea.......I have spoken to so many people who think that was written by Kimball. hmmmmm.

That is not a complaint! :)