Saffron Infused Roasted Cauliflower Cream Soup
Creamy Saffron Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Trout
Saffron is such a powerful and uniquely-flavored spice. Unfortunately, though, cooks often seem intimidated to experiment or even slightly stray from the norm with the blood-red filaments of Crocus Sativus. Perhaps this is because pound-for-pound, saffron is known to be the world’s most expensive spice, or maybe it’s because the flavor is just so divine and so unique that they are afraid to waste it on a botched culinary exploit. Regardless of the reason, it’s time we all escape from our epicurean comfort zone and explore the endless possibilities for utilizing saffron in the kitchen.
I just love saffron, with its elegant yet earthy flavor and subtle notes of a delicate sweetness reminiscent of honey derived from the nectar of alfalfa or sage. Sure, I’ve tried using these gorgeous filaments in more typical dishes like paella, Bouillabaisse, biryani, and risotto Milanese, but I’ve also found it to be an incredible addition to cream-based sauces, saffron-infused cocktails, and as a fresh twist on a comforting tea.
Now, I’ve decided to expand my culinary horizons a bit further by implementing this fantastic spice into dishes where it is a little more unexpected. This will be the first in our series of unusual saffron dishes.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Saffron and Smoked Trout
Yields 4-6 servings
***To make this soup vegetarian, simply replace the smoked trout with your favorite mushrooms or omit altogether.
- 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- Olive oil for roasting and sautéing
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
- Sea salt to taste, chopped
- Pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Olive oil for roasting and
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounces of smoked trout
- Heat the broth (don’t boil), slightly toast the saffron, and soak it in the broth for at least 20 minutes or more.
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower and the garlic and roast on 350℉ for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the onion and celery with salt and sauté in a large soup pot with olive oil over medium heat, until edges of the onions are slightly golden and centers are translucent.
- Add the butter to the onions, and stir in the xanthan gum.
- Continue to cook over medium heat and slowly whisk in broth to thicken.
- Add the garlic and cauliflower to the soup pot.
- Use an immersion blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Stir in the cream, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and nutmeg.
- Heat to simmer.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with large pieces of smoked trout and fresh chives.
This is such a comforting soup for a chilly evening and an absolute crowd pleaser. If you want to make it suitable for vegetarians—just omit the trout or replace it with some sautéed shitake or oyster mushrooms.
Saffron from Afghanistan is excellent in this dish. You can get your premium Afghanistan saffron here.