This soup uses ground cashews to add a creamy flavor and texture to this unusual soupl It’s vegan and gluten-free; the preparation takes about an hour, and this quantity serves about 8, depending on how much else you are serving.
½ cup olive oil, divided
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup dry white wine
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets, core and stems chopped, divided
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained;
6 cups (or more) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon paprika
Garnish: 2 Tbsp buckwheat groats and 2 Tbsp dry (unsoaked) cashews
1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.
2. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set aside ¾ cup cauliflower; add the rest to the pot with the cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.
3. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 20–25 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; if so, reduce heat.
4. Add the stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to the simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20–25 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
5. Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 Tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium. Add cauliflower, cashews, and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.
6. Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.
7. Serve in wide soup plates, garnished with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.
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