Soups are frequent on my table.
It’s true, soups feature more in the cooler months, when I tend to make them hearty and thick. But I’ll happily eat soup any time – no matter the weather.
You’re probably familiar with za’atar – the dried Middle Eastern herb mix, consisting mainly of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and sumac . It’s so delicious and really can be used on just about any thing. Grab your za’atar – store bought or home made – and sprinkle it over the sliced cauliflower and red onions. A little oil, sea salt, and black pepper and whack in to a hot oven.
Caramalised roasted cauliflower is sweet and nutty and the perfect flavour base for this soup.
For busy people, a quality store bought za’atar is just fine. I keep some store bought handy for fast flavouring. I can’t always be a kitchen goddess!
I like to make this soup with vegetable stock – home made if you fancy – but chicken stock also works well. Now, this is the part where I dread to scare you off. A little blue cheese is added and blended into the soup for richness and depth of flavour. Don’t be afraid. I think it goes beautifully with the za’atar and may not even be detected by those who swear they don’t like blue cheese. By all means, you might add more blue cheese, or leave it out all together. If this is the case, grilled cheddar toast served to the side is a good alternative for combining that cheesy flavour with the cauliflower.
Za’atar roasted cauliflower soup
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tbsp za’atar
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
2 tbsp blue cheese – I used Gorgonzola, plus extra for garnishing – optional
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Pre heat oven to 220C. Slice cauliflower into 1cm wide pieces – keep them as much in their natural floret shape as possible – and spread on a large tray. Scatter over sliced onions, drizzle cauliflower and onions with olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar, sea salt and pepper, and rub gently to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
Place roasted cauliflower and onions in a large saucepan, cover with vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. (if you’re after a thinner soup, add an extra 500ml vegetable stock or water, boil, then simmer for 10 minutes).
Using a stick blender or food processor, blitz soup, add 2tbsp (or more) of blue cheese and continue blitzing till smooth, taste, adjust seasoning.
Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley. For those, like me, who love blue cheese, crumble extra pieces on top of soup, and serve with plenty of cracked black pepper.