Savoy Cabbage and Parmesan Soup

adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty (a book every veggie lover really should own!)

Note from Yotam:

Here’s a little cheffy trick: when we get a big wheel of Parmesan, we cut off the tough skin and save it for adding to soups to infuse them with that intense Parmesan flavour. At home, you can collect skins over time and keep them in the freezer. If you don’t have enough, just add a handful or so of grated Parmesan. Serves four.

For the soup

6 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp caraway seeds, plus extra
1 medium savoy cabbage
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
about 3 oz Parmesan skin
Coarse sea salt
½ mild red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 oz. Parmesan, grated (optional)

For the croutons

8 thin slices baguette
Olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled

First make the soup. Heat four tablespoons of oil in a big pot and sauté the onion on medium heat until soft but without much colour (about five minutes). Add the garlic and caraway, and cook for two minutes. Remove four of the outer leaves of the cabbage, shred finely and set aside. Roughly shred the rest of the cabbage, then add to the pot along with the diced potato, and stir for two to three minutes. Add enough stock just to cover the vegetables, add the Parmesan skin, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Remove the Parmesan skin, taste the soup and season accordingly. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, then blitz roughly with a hand-blender. Add more stock if it is too thick. Adjust the seasoning.

For the croutons, preheat the grill to high. Put the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Grill for two minutes a side, or until golden brown. Rub the croutons with garlic and finish with a sprinkle of salt.

To serve, heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and sauté the reserved cabbage with the chilli and salt. Cook for three to four minutes, or until the cabbage softens. Spoon the hot soup into bowls, add grated Parmesan (if using), top with the fried cabbage and finish with a few extra caraway seeds scattered over the top.

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