Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Mustard CroutonsPosted: January 1, 2023
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large head of cauliflower (2½–3 lb.), florets broken into small pieces, core chopped
¼ tsp. freshly ground white or black pepper, plus more
¾ cup almond or cashew cream
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
5 cups country-style bread, gluten free, preferably day-old, torn or sliced into 1″ cubes
1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1) Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium-low. Add 1 medium onion, chopped, and season with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if onion starts to brown, until softened but without taking on any color, 5–7 minutes. Add 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2) Add 1 large head of cauliflower (2½–3 lb.), florets broken into small pieces, core chopped, 1½ tsp., ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp. freshly ground white or black pepper, and 5½ cups water (the water should just barely cover the cauliflower). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until cauliflower is completely tender and starting to fall apart, 15–20 minutes. Stir in ¾ cup half-and-half and simmer 5 minutes; remove from heat.
3) While the soup is simmering, whisk 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a medium bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper. Add 5 cups country-style bread, preferably day-old, torn or sliced into 1″ cubes, and toss to coat in mustard mixture. Transfer bread mixture to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in a single layer, turning halfway through, until cheese is melted and croutons are golden brown and crisp, 10–15 minutes.
4) Working in batches, carefully purée soup in a blender until very smooth, transferring to a medium bowl as you go. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to blend soup in pot until smooth.) Return soup to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more water to thin if needed (you’re going for the consistency of heavy cream). Stir in 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice. Taste and season soup with more salt and/or pepper if desired.