I obviously do not eat those dishes everyday because I would certainly lose the enjoyment and get bored. Also, imagine the state of my arteries if I only listened to my cheese dreams...
So, instead, I reserve those wonderful cheese dishes for every other weekend during Winter time. And if I have a sudden craving for melted cheese, I just stir a small handful of it grated into a hot soup. Depending on the vegetables, I vary the options with Comté, Gruyère, Manchego, Gorgonzola or Parmesan cheese.
Do you add cheese to your soup? What is your favourite combination?
Ingredients (serve 2 or 3 as a main or 4 as an appetiser)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots (sliced)
700g cauliflower florets
250g potatoes (peeled and diced)
800ml vegetable stock
50g grated gruyère cheese
1 Serrano ham slice per person
1. Put the butter in a large saucepan (or soup pot) over a medium heat. When melted, add the sliced shallot and stir for 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and diced potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the vegetable stock (it should cover the cauliflower and potato dice) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20/25 minutes (check that the vegetables are tender).
3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the serrano ham topping. Put a non stick frying pan over medium to high heat. When the pan is hot, add the ham slices and cook 30 seconds on each side. Transfer them onto a chopping board and cut into little pieces. Transfer into a small serving bowl.
4. When the soup is cooked, remove two ladles worth of stock and keep aside in a bowl. Puree the soup with a blender (I use a hand held one) until smooth. If you like a thick soup, leave as it is. If you prefer it thinner, stir in some of the stock set aside. Put the soup back on a medium heat and whisk in the cream and grated gruyère. When the cheese is melted, the soup is ready.
Divide the soup between the bowls, sprinkle with serrano ham pieces and croutons. Et voilà!