CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CRISPY PANCETTA
FOR THE GREMOLATA
1 cup (2 oz/60 g) fresh bread crumbs
4 Tbsp (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ tsp grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper 6 oz (185 g) pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 shallots, sliced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 head cauliflower (about 2½ lb/1.25 kg), trimmed and cut into florets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups (40 fl oz/1.25 l) chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) heavy cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
To make the gremolata, in a bowl, toss together the bread crumbs and 2 Tbsp of the oil. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crisp, 15–20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl, toss together the toasted bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a nonstick frying pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy and the fat is rendered, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Set aside.
In a large, heavy pot, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Working in batches, purée the soup in a food processor or blender. Return to the pot and add more broth if needed to reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the lemon juice and cream, if using. Serve the soup, garnished with the crispy pancetta and gremolata.