“In Venice we have big soups, simple soups,” Francesco says. “This is a good example.” But he adds that when it’s served at Remi, it is sometimes garnished with creme fraiche and caviar, for a lavish touch befitting the Venetian taste for luxury. At one time there were sturgeon in the Venetian lagoon, providing the city with its own supply of caviar. For a more humble Venetian garnish, some rounds of bread fried in butter or olive oil will do nicely.
- 5 tbsp (45 g) unsalted butter
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 leek, chopped (white part only)
- 1 baking potato, peeled and coarsley chopped
- 1 small head or 1/2 large head cauliflower, coarsley chopped
- 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and chopped
- 8 cups (2 L) cold water
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- 4 3-inch (7.5-cm) rounds Italian country bread
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and leek and saute slowly until they are tender but not brown.
- Add the potato, cauliflower, anchovy, and water.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Allow the soup to cool briefly, then puree it in a blender or food processor. You will probably have to do this in batches.
- Return the soup to the saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and season it with salt and white pepper.
- Just before serving time, heat the remaining butter in a small skillet. Saute the bread slices on both sides until they are golden and serve them alongside the soup.