1 medium (about 2 pounds) cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, small dice 6 plump garlic cloves, crushed and minced
— Kosher salt
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
6-8 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 Italian parsley sprigs
½ cup creme fraiche
— Black pepper in a mill — Condiments of choice (see note below)
Trim the cauliflower and discard any green leaves. Cut or break off the florets and cut the inner core into medium dice. Set aside.
Pour the olive oil into a soup pot or large saucepan and set over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes; do not let it brown. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Season with salt, add the potatoes, stir and cook for about three minutes. Add the cauliflower, season again with salt and pour in the stock. Add the bay leaf and parsley and simmer gently until the potatoes and cauliflower are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and parsley sprigs.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, leaving some of it chunky, if you like. Stir in the creme fraiche, taste, correct for salt and season generously with black pepper.
Ladle into soup plates or bowls, top with whatever condiment you prefer and enjoy hot.
Note: Condiment suggestions include: best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, either separately or with another condiment; Italian salsa verde; black olive tapenade; mustard cream (2 tablespoons Dijon mustard mixed with ½ cup creme fraiche or sour cream); chermoula or chimichurri; sun-dried tomatoes pureed with garlic and olive oil; julienne of roasted sweet peppers tossed with slivered garlic; lightly toasted sourdough breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. This simple dish is so delicious it might win cauliflower converts. It makes an excellent main course but is also a welcome accompaniment to a range of foods, including roasted chicken and roasted pork tenderloin. Recipe by Michele Anna Jordan, www.micheleannajordan.com