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Cauliflower Veloute with American Caviar

Mini cups of cauliflower soup make elegant hors d'oeuvres in this recipe from chef Michael Romano.

  • Yield: Makes 24 hors d'oeuvres
Cauliflower Veloute with American Caviar


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ounces American caviar, such as paddlefish
  • 1 small bunch fresh tarragon, for garnish


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Measure out 3 cups cauliflower florets and set aside. Using the remaining florets and stems, add 8 cups cauliflower, heavy cream, and stock; stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add reserved cauliflower florets; cook, stirring, until cauliflower is tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

  3. Transfer cauliflower-cream mixture to the jar of a blender; carefully blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and bring to simmer; add lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

  4. Divide soup evenly among 24 small serving cups. Garnish each with reserved sauteed cauliflower florets, 1/4 teaspoon caviar, and a small tarragon leaf; serve immediately.

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