This soup was a plan that turned into a delightful surprise. I knew I wanted to make a cauliflower soup since they are just starting to show up at markets and I knew I wanted to use coconut milk, but that was about it. Then I kind of followed the trail from one flavor to another, until I came upon a combo so delicious, I can’t wait to make this again. I had originally intended to eat this cold, but we couldn’t wait (and it was perfectly lunchtime) and it was so delicious hot, I forgot all about my plan for cold soup.
for the soup:
1 medium head of cauliflower, florets and stems cut into 1” pieces
3 garlic cloves, halved
1 can, unsweetened coconut milk
1-2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
water, to cover
for the salad:
4 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ c. roasted almonds, sliced or chopped
1 peach, diced
1 chile pepper (poblano, bell, jalapeno, etc.)
for the szechuan oil:
½ c. grape seed oil
3 star anise, whole
1 T. black peppercorns, whole
1 cinnamon stick, whole
¼ c. red pepper flakes
- Make the soup: In a pot add the cauliflower, garlic, coconut milk, ginger and water to cover. Simmer over medium-low heat until the cauliflower is tender. Blend until smooth in a blender.
- Make the szechuan oil: In a small dry pot add the star anise, black peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Toast for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the oil and let cook on low for around 20 minutes to infuse the flavor of the spices into the oil. Drain the oil through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl with the red pepper flakes. Let cool and store in the fridge.
- Roast the chile pepper: On a grill, over a gas grate or under the broiler, roast the pepper on all sides until charred. Transfer pepper to a bowl and cover for ten minutes to steam. Peel the skin off the pepper and remove the seeds. Now you are ready to dice the chile for the salad.
- Prepare the salad: Right before serving the soup gently combine the scallions, almonds, peach and roasted chile pepper.
- To serve the soup: Spoon a bit of salad into the bottom of each bowl. Top with the soup and drizzle with oil. Enjoy!