04 Dec Cream of Fractal (Romanesco Broccoli) Soup
If you fracture a fractal… what do you get?
Soup. That’s what.
I love making soup, and I love eating it, especially at this time of year. I also love the whorls and swirls of the beautiful Romanesco Broccoli/ Cauliflower-ish brassica that makes it’s lovely pointy baroque appearance in the markets round about now.
What’s a fractal? Well- it’s a pattern that is self similar across different scales. In the case of the Romanesco brassica,the pretty whorls get smaller and smaller & sort of rotate to become a most pleasingly pretty vegetable. I do love a decorative veggie.
The best thing is, this particular veggie isn’t just destined for decoration. The taste is somewhere between a broccoli and a cauliflower, which means you can use it where ever you would use either of these cruciferous vegetables. I had on impulse bought a rather large specimen, and needed to use it up in a way which I could store it for later. Hence, the fractured fractal.
It seemed a bit sad to blitz this gorgeous veg to smithereens, just because I wanted to make soup, so I thought it would be nice to use the pretty points as a garnish, by roasting them to bring out their natural nuttiness, and add an extra dimension to the soup. It rather worked, if made for slightly tricky photographs. You see, the fractal points didn’t want to stay afloat to have their picture taken. They did however taste delicious as part of the soup, so I do urge you to try the soup with the added deliciousness of roasted fractal points. You’ll thank me.
This soup is quite substantial, despite being made from mere brassicas and a bit of potato to give it a little creaminess. Served with some toast or crusty bread, it makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
- 1 head Romesco Broccoli , chopped. Keep aside the prettiest points for the roast.
- 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped.
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 2 small potatoes , peeled & chopped into cubes.
- 1 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
- 2 teaspoons vegan boullion or stock powder (I like Marigold)
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
- olive oil
- 1 litre water
- salt and pepper to taste.
- The prettiest tips of fractals that you have set aside
- olive oil
- Mild chilli powder
- thyme (fresh or dried)
- Optional extra toppings: (not necessary, but nice)
- Toasted pine nuts
- A teaspoon of pesto that's been loosened with a little extra olive oil for drizzling
In a large pan, sweat the onions and garlic with the oil..
Add the potatoes and the chopped romesco broccoli and all the herbs & spices. Stir to mix
Add the water & stock powder and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
Using a stick blender, blend until creamy, then taste and season.
In a baking dish combine all the ingredients and roast on Gas Mark 7/ 220C .
Serve in bowls, add a little mound of roasted fractals (broccoli pieces) in the centre and swirl some olive oil, pine nuts and a little pesto.