Cauliflower Soup with Maine Lobster & Herb Olive Oil


Cauliflower Soup with Maine Lobster  |  Chive & Lemon Oil  |  Charcuterie Board  {A Tree~Trimming Dinner}

Intro Collage


“This may be the shortest recipe we will ever write, but sometimes simplicity is the height of elegance and this soup is a testament to both.  Butter, salt, and pepper are all you need to make this soup divine.  Rarely is such an elegant dish so easy to prepare.”  ~  Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola, Boulevard, The Cookbook


Today was an extraordinarily brisk day here in the Bay area.  Clear, crystal blue skies and the water just beyond our deck sparkled in the radiant sunshine.  Despite the absence of snowflakes falling from the sky it still felt like a December day with Christmas in the air.  Heavy jackets, usually reserved for trips to snowy places, were donned as we headed out on our search for this year’s Christmas tree.  The overall process of selecting  the family Christmas tree never takes very long as we all favor a Noble Fir and  a height  in between 7 and 8 feet makes a comfortable fit for this evergreen in its place of honor in our sunroom.  We found our tree and, in just the amount of time it takes for Mallory to enjoy a candy cane and a mug of hot apple cider, were headed home to face the greater task at hand:  decorating “O Tannenbaum”.

Knowing we would be busy stringing lights and unpacking ornament boxes when we arrived home, I decided to prepare our dinner soup this morning before we left.  As noted in the opening quote above, it is a wonderfully simple soup but still special enough {courtesy of the lobster} for a Sunday, tree~trimming dinner.  While we worked, a charcuterie board of cured meats and fruit, as well as a variety of cheese and sliced rustic bread, provided the perfect nibble and bowls of soup were later enjoyed in the glow of our finished Christmas tree.

Cauliflower, currently in its peak season, is often steamed, roasted, sautéed and even pickled but, for tonight’s soup, this member of the cabbage family was simply boiled in a pot of salted water. To begin, one large head must be trimmed, cored and broken into florets.


Once the outer leaves are removed, I find the easiest way to remove the core and separate the florets is to place the head on a hard, stable work surface {namely a solid countertop or in a clean sink} core/root side on the bottom.  Then lift the head with both hands and, with a bit of force, slam the head down onto the work surface.  The individual florets will immediately be broken from the core…no cutting required.



The cauliflower florets are then placed into a saucepan, adding water and a bit of salt, and simmered until tender {but NOT mush and falling apart}.  After cooling a bit, the florets are put into a blender with some of the reserved cooking liquid and some butter and blended into a smooth, rich soup.  Note:  the original recipe calls for straining the mixture after blending but the soup, directly from the blender had the consistency I was looking for so I skipped the added step.


Topping the soup {in addition to the lobster meat} is a simple oil of chives, lemon zest and freshly ground pepper suspended in extra~virgin olive oil.  The chives complement the cauliflower much in the same way they do potatoes and the lemon, a natural companion to lobster, adds a lightness to the overall soup.

Chive Oil Collage

As for the lobster, I took the easy way out today and had our local fish market…the Seafood Peddler in Sausalito…cook the live Maine lobsters for us.  


I picked up the cooked lobster yesterday so all I had to do was crack open the lobster and remove the meat before warming and serving.  Note:  If cooking the lobsters in advance, be sure to keep them in tact {meat in the shell}, as well as covered and chilled, until you are ready to use/serve as this will prevent the meat from drying out. 


Cauliflower Soup with Maine Lobster
Serves 4
An easy, yet elegant, winter soup.
For the soup
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower {about 2 pounds}
  2. 6 cups water
  3. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature {plus 1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter}
  5. Meat from a 1~2 pound cooked, Maine lobster, cut into large bite~size pieces
For the Chive & lemon Oil
  1. 2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives
  2. 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  4. 6 tablespoons extra~virgin olive oil
  1. Remove & discard the outer leaves of the cauliflower, and separate the florets from the core. Put the cauliflower florets into a large saucepan with the water and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Maintain an active simmer and cook for 10~12 minutes, or until very tender {but not mushy or falling apart}. Drain the cooked florets into a sieve placed over a bowl {to collect the cooking water}. Let cool for a few minutes, then put the cauliflower and 2 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid into a blender with the 4 tablespoons of butter and puree until smooth. {You may need to do this in 2 batches to avoid a blender explosion.} Transfer the blended mixture back into a saucepan if serving right away or into a bowl if serving later, in which case the mixture should be allowed to cool and then covered and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to heat & serve. Add more of the cooking liquid if the soup is too thick. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  1. Whisk the chives, lemon zest, pepper, and olive oil together in a small bowl until combined. Set aside for up to 4 hours.
  1. Heat the lobster meat with 1 tablespoon of the cold butter in a skillet until warm. Heat the soup, if necessary, and then divide among warm soup bowls. Place a spoonful of the warm lobster meat in the center of each bowl and drizzle the chive~lemon oil around the lobster.
Adapted from Boulevard, The Cookbook {by Nancy Oakes & Pamela Mazzola}
Adapted from Boulevard, The Cookbook {by Nancy Oakes & Pamela Mazzola}
 The final bowl of soup…


And a peek at our charcuterie board…


As for the Christmas tree…



K Initial

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