Cauliflower Bisque with "Buttered" Breadcrumbs
1 large white cauliflower (2 lbs)
5 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 cups water
1-inch piece lemon zest (yellow part only, the white pith will turn bitter)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium carrots
2 medium stalks celery
1 medium yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 cup raw cashews
Trim the cauliflower, cut the florets in small pieces, and put them in a soup pot with 4 cups of the vegetable broth and the 2 cups of water.
Add the lemon juice and the strip of zest to the pot, along with a teaspoon of sea salt.
Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, trim, and chop the carrots, celery, and onion.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped vegetables, along with half a teaspoon of sea salt.
Sauté the vegetables on a medium flame, stirring often, until they are soft, about 15 minutes or so
Add the garlic and cook an additional five minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to color. Add the herbes de Provence and keep stirring over medium heat for a few minutes longer.
Add the sautéed vegetables to the cauliflower, and stir.
At this point the cauliflower should be very tender. If it's not, continue to simmer the soup until it is. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, turn off the heat and let the soup cool briefly.
While the soup is cooling, add your raw cashes and remaining cup of vegetable broth to your blender.
Puree the mixture until it's very smooth and creamy.
Pour the cashew cream into a small bowl, and set aside.
Without rinsing the blender, puree the cauliflower mixture. You may have to do this in batches.
Return the soup to the pot, and stir in the cashew cream, to taste, until the soup has the consistency and flavor that you like. [I didn't end up using all of the cream - you can refrigerate whatever is left and save it for another use.]
Taste, and add salt or lemon juice if needed.
Sprinkle a heaping spoonful of buttered breadcrumbs over each serving of soup at the last minute, just as you are serving it.