My husband and I treated ourselves to a whirlwind five-day tour of Paris at the end of May that kicked off our summer in the best way possible. We walked around 15 miles a day, sweated through our very limited packed clothes, and stuffed ourselves with wedges of tangy cheese, thick chunks of steaming bread, and every other mouth-watering food France offered us.
We raced through all of the big, touristy sites in Paris because, well, they are famous and popular for a reason. The Louvre, the Arc de Triompe (we climbed it and the views of the city were unbeatable), Notre-Dame, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Sacré-Cœur, the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Conciergerie—the history packed into this city was incredible. That is one of my favorite things about Europe: you can see and touch things from hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
The most basic thing I could write right now is how amazing the Eiffel Tower is. And it really, really was (sorry, not sorry). Tall, majestic, and beautiful – it sits over the city in the loveliest way. I bought into the magic of the Eiffel Tower from my first glimpse of it through a window on the metro.
We landed in Paris the first day around noon. Jake and I navigated the metro system, bleary-eyed, dragging our little suitcase behind us. I had already booked reservations for our first French restaurant experience near our AirBnB – all part of the detailed plan to stay awake at least until 9pm by all means necessary! Jet lag is no joke, y’all.
I knew all my research on the best restaurants to try during our limited time totally paid off when a cauliflower soup was set in front of me as my first course. Oh my goodness—it was amazing. Smooth, creamy and RICH. I’m guessing there was about four tablespoons of butter melted into that one bowl of soup. At. Least.
Talk about the perfect introduction to Paris. I ate every last spoonful of that soup and wished for more.
I couldn’t identify all of the flavors, but I did my best because I already knew a recreation would be happening in my own kitchen soon. And here it is!
It’s a fairly simple recipe, but cutting up cauliflower, leeks, and shallots might feel a little tedious. Turn on your favorite podcast (my latest favorites: The West Wing Weekly, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, and Code Switch) and chop away! I find this to be therapeutic work, but if you need a shortcut, you can always toss it all into a food processor and pulse a couple times.
We’ll cook the veggies, add some herbs and broth, blend well, and then add a cup of heavy cream because you can’t fake that richness. (Do not even think about substituting some skim milk!) Add a dollop of crème fraîche or some fresh herbs on top at the end if you’re feeling fancy.
Serve warm, eat your delicious soup, and book a flight to Paris.
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- Several springs of fresh thyme, stems removed
- A couple leaves of fresh sage
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Olive oil
- Very generous salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spread the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil, toss, and spring generously with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes or until completely tender.
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat a little olive oil and sauté the shallot and leek for about 10 or 15 minutes, until softened. You can cook them in a little vegetable broth as well.
- Allow the cauliflower, shallot, and leeks to cool down slightly and place in a blender or food processor. Add the vegetable broth, thyme, and sage. Blend until smooth - it may take a couple minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and taste. Add more seasoning as necessary - salt and pepper well. Warm up on the stove a bit if you'd like it warmer before enjoying.