Saturday, January 24, 2009
Cauliflower Leaf & Stalk Soup with Parcels of Arzúa Ulloa Cheese & Fresh Oregano
I went to the Mercadillo in Arroyo de la Miel yesterday and purchased a few pots of herbs as well as a magnificent large cauliflower. I wanted to try making a recipe from Gluten-Free Bay and as I was making the Moroccan Cauliflower Recipe I realized I had lots of cauliflower leaves and stalks and remembered a lovely recipe Ilva posted in Lucullian Delights in 2007. The soup is called Very Cheap but Very Good Vegetable Soup.
I made a few modifications to suit Ronny's spice loving palate.
I have to tell you that what I really love about this recipe is that it's really 'cheap and good' and amazingly versatile, allowing for liberal modifications in the ratio of ingredients. Sometimes the soup will be greener and sometimes it will be redder and the taste will be a little different. After all, when you think about it - it's pretty difficult to get an exact amount of cauliflower leaves and stems isn't it? So make your own little modifications with the spirit of your taste buds guiding you!
Cauliflower Stem & leaves (I used about 1 Cup for this one - but this will vary for everyone)
2 Small Tomatoes
Chopped Parsley (a small bunch of them)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-----Additional Ingredients to the Original-----
2-3 Tsp Cumin Seeds
Ground Dried Red Chili
1 Clove Garlic (chopped finely)
3 Sheets of Rice Paper (the kind you use to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
6 Fresh Oregano Leaves
6 Pieces Arzúa Ulloa Cheese
Step 1: Fry the garlic and cumin seeds in the oil until they release their aroma and flavors.
Step 2: Throw in the chopped up cauliflower stems and leaves and fry until tender - about 3-4 minutes. Add chili powder during this stage and season a bit with salt.
Step 3: Throw in the chopped tomatoes and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Cover with water and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Step 5: When the contents of the soup look tender enough, put everything through a mixer until it's very creamy and then make the necessary adjustments, i.e. more salt, more water, etc...then set it aside.
Step 1: Put some hot water in a shallow flat container and gently put the rice paper inside. When it's soft remove it onto a damp cloth and cut it in two.
Step 2: Put a piece of cheese, salt and fresh oregano leaf and roll it up making a parcel. Make sure it's securely sealed so that the cheese doesn't leak out when you deep fry it.
Step 3: Deep fry the parcels and put them on top of the soup as a garnish...and enjoy!
I had a difficult time making nice looking parcels as you can see in the photograph - so don't worry if the rice paper isn't easy to handle. I guess it takes a little bit of practice before you can have your own way with them. A beginner's tip would be to make sure the water cools down a bit (from boiling point). If the water is too hot the rice paper will curl and stick together and become more difficult to handle.
Also, when you're deep frying them make a test with a small piece of rice paper to make sure the oil is hot enough. If the oil isn't hot enough the parcels will unravel inside the oil.
On another note, the parcels tasted really good. The burst of flavor of this very mild Spanish cheese, the aroma of the fresh oregano leaf and the spicy vegetable soup were a marriage made in heaven. OK, that's exaggerating a bit - but it was really, really good!
Does it sound like it's too much work? Try making the soup the day before. Then all you need to do is reheat the soup and make the parcels...which is what I did.