Romancing the Sea Vegetable Part Deux – a Cauliflower Soup

Dulse magic!
Dulse is a luscious maroon coloured, fabulously versatile seaweed that is bound to steal your heart.

On top of the health and nutritional benefits mentioned previously, dulse is exceptionally high in iodine and manganese, and has been used as a remedy for sea sickness, herpes and scurvy – what more could you ask for?! It’s salty flavour makes it a great salt substitute, but you may like to start slowly and build up as your body adjusts to the flavour which can be overpowering if you overdo it!

You can buy dulse as larger pieces, or in flakes as pictured. The flakes really are next level awesome as you can add them to almost anything (I haven’t tried with sweet things, but why not throw some into a carrot cake mix?). They are a vitamin and mineral injection to any meal you add them to, and because they are so conveniently flaky you can feel free to sprinkle into soups, stews, pasta sauces, meat dishes, salads, onto vegetables, you name it – you dulse it!

The larger dulse pieces can be used as spinach or other leafy veg, or sauteed and eaten as a snack or a side. I crisped some up on a really low heat in the oven to eat – they are intense this way, but would be a fun and healthful addition to your normal array condiments!

Today I have used the flakes in this week’s Food Matters Project recipe – Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup, chosen and hosted by Adrienne. Asparagus is not in season here at the moment, so I have made a different version of the soup using cauliflower and kale, loosely inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Cauliflower Soup. I have kept the recipe dairy free, but it would be amazing with some aged cheddar grated into the mix a la Heidi Swanson if you fancy.

Here’s what I did.

You will need:
Kale Croutons
A bunch of kale or cavalo nero
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
A pinch of sea salt

Cauliflower soup
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, ghee or butter
2 leeks, sliced
1 large potato, unpeeled and chopped into very small cubes
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 1/3 cups vegetable stock
350g cauliflower, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dulse flakes (plus extra to taste)

Preheat oven to the lowest setting – around 100 degrees Celsius or so.

Wash and de-bone the kale and smother it in the combined oil, mustard and salt.

Arrange on a baking tray and pop into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or just until the kale is crispy.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large, heavy based pot and add the leek and a pinch of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the leeks soften up a bit and add the potato. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the potato is softening up a bit. Stir in the garlic, followed by the stock. Bring to the boil and check if the potato is cooked. Once it is, add the cauliflower and dulse flakes and cook for a few minutes, until the cauliflower tender.

Remove pot from the heat and puree the soup with a stick blender. Adjust with salt or more stock if needed.

Serve and arrange some kale ‘croutons’ on top with a little drizzle of olive oil to finish.

These kale chips are delicious to eat on their own if you have any leftovers! There are endless options for seasoning, here are five suggestions for you. I’m a fan of a simple drizzle of tamari, olive oil and sprinkling of sesame seeds. They are delicious, addictive and fabulous! You can read more about benefits of kale here.

You can also see what other renditions of the soup the Food Matters Project members came up with here.