The soup is thickened with egg yolks and cream, and also given an interesting texture by puréeing half the cauliflower and leaving the remaining florets whole.
Cut the stem from the base of the cauliflower and separate the head into florets, discarding the green outer leaves. Blanch the florets in rapidly boiling salted water for 3 minutes, drain and purée half of them.
Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a pan with the single cream. Heat slowly to simmering. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then whisk a ladleful of the hot liquid into them and pour this mixture back into the pan, whisking all the time.
Add the cauliflower purée and season to taste with salt, pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring, until the soup starts to thicken, then add the reserved whole florets. Cook, stirring, for another minute or so to warm them through.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls with chives snipped over. If a smooth soup is preferred, simply purée all the florets.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.