Cauliflower can be a tough vegetable in the kitchen. Mild by nature, it is hard to know sometimes whether to let it be itself (as in this cauliflower pie recipe I learned from Marcella Hazan) or to liven it up with hot pepper or other assertive flavors. I opted for the latter approach yesterday for lunch with this nice fall/winter soup making good use of tomatoes and spinach preserved for just this sort of occasion. I’m a big believer in oversalting the base ingredients in a soup and then using saltless broth to balance the soup’s seasoning. I want to taste the main ingredients in a soup, not just salty broth or water. This balance works well for me. You can use meat or vegetable broth here, or even water in a pinch.

Cauliflower soup with spinach & tomatoes (Serves 2 to 3)

1) Slice 1/4 of an onion (preferbaly sweet) into thin half-moons, and saute for a few minutes in olive oil until softened, aromatic, and beginning to take on some color.

2) Add a little garlic if inclined, and then about ½ to 1 cup quality canned tomatoes along with a significant pinch of salt and a pinch of hot pepper to taste.

3) Simmer a few minutes until the tomatoes are well-broken down, then add about a cup of broth and a ¼ head of cauliflower, cut up into small, bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pot along with a small handful of fresh or frozen spinach.

4) Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is tender.

5) Garnish with parsley and serve, adjusting the amount of water or broth as needed.