Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Return to Cooking: Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Scallops

I know this doesn't look like much.  I really should probably invest in some more interesting bowls.  But I promise that this soup is fantastic.  It's creamy and warm and everything delicious on a cold day.  And there's something about those smoked scallops that really does something for the flavor.  I think you could probably even swing some hot smoked salmon if you can't find the scallops.  Anything smoky and fishy.  It won't be pretty, but your tongue will know the truth.

Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Scallops
From A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert

1 large cauliflower
2½ cups chicken stock
2½ cups water
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups heavy cream
½ pound smoked scallops, cut into ½-inch dice
1 teaspoon finely chopped Lemon Confit or jarred preserved lemons
12 small dill sprigs (tips only)

Prepare the cauliflower by removing the green leaves and the inner core. Roughly chop the florets and place in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cover with the chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches, blending it to a satiny smooth consistency. Pour the soup into a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter and heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Meanwhile, divide the scallops among six soup bowls. Place on a baking sheet in the oven until the scallops are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

To serve, add the lemon confit and dill to the soup and stir to incorporate. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

Lemon Confit
3 cups kosher salt
6 lemons

Place a 1 quart canning jar and lid in a pot of boiling water to sterilize them.  Dry on a rack upside down.

Pour a layer of salt into the bottom of the jar.  Cut 1 inch off one end of a lemon, then quarter the lemon, starting at the cut end, but leaving the uncut end intact.  Open the lemon over a bowl and pour salt inside.  Place the lemon in the bottom of the jar.  Continue with the remaining lemons (use the remaining salt and the salt that falls into the bowl), packing them into the jar and covering each layer of lemons with salt.  Seal the jar and refrigerate.

The lemons can be used after 1 month, but they are best after 3 months and will keep for up to a year.

To use the confit, cut the lemon quarters apart.  Cut away all the flesh from the rind; discard the flesh.

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