Archive for ‘Soups’

June 2, 2015

Revisited: Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Gazpacho Redux

With both the legislative session and school winding down, I’m making it a goal this summer to really explore one or two international cuisines. I realized recently that not really having the opportunity to cook for several months has left me in something of a culinary rut. I think a deep dive into the subtleties of a specific palette is just what the chef-doctor ordered.

And since a visit to Spain many years ago was what really piqued my interest in cooking, so it only seemed like a fitting place to return.

Almost four years ago (!) when I had just started this blog, I posted a recipe for one of the most ubiquitous of Spanish dishes – gazpacho. Here is what I wrote at the time:

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Don’t say I’m not a man of my word.

Technically the addition of bread to this dish would make it salmorejo, the less famous cousin of gazpacho, but it’s largely the same concept. This recipe is a bit heartier – enough to be a light meal by itself – but still delightful for a warm summer day. The fried capers offer little bursts of salt and vinegar that help break up the flavor of the soup. The pea shoots, meanwhile, are a beautiful visual addition that also provide some diversity in texture.

Traditional? Not as much. Delicious? Sí.

Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crusty bread, preferably a bit stale, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for plating
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1/2 cup pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place the cubed bread in a small bowl with the vinegar. Let it stand until all of the liquid has been absorbed so that the bread is slightly soggy.
  2. Roughly chop the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and garlic. Don’t worry about getting them too small or the same size.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables to food processor along with the bread, pimentón, cumin and quarter cup of olive oil. Blend to your desired consistency (there are all manner of opinions on how much you should blend your gazpacho. I’m a fan of almost completely smooth, but it’s up to you).
  4. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Feel free to let it sit overnight, as the flavors only develop over time.
  5. To serve, fry your capers in a small sauce pan with a dash of oil until lightly crisped and beginning to lose their shape, about 2-3 minutes. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the gazpacho and top with a handful of capers and the pea shoots.
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October 31, 2014

Caramelized Pumpkin Soup

Caramelized Pumpkin Soup 4

I’m not usually one for molecular gastronomy – it requires too much precision and expensive equipment for me – but ever since I first tried it I’ve been a huge fan of the caramelized carrot soup put together by the mad scientists over at Modernist Cuisine.

Despite a minimal list of ingredients and uncomplicated instructions, the soup has a depth of flavor that is unparalleled by any conventional recipe. Rather than try to explain their culinary techno-magic myself, here’s the secret straight from the source:

It’s the pressure-cooking that really allows the flavors of this soup to flourish. The flavors are a combination of caramelization and the Maillard reaction (what people commonly call “browning”), which produces a rich, caramelized, nutty flavor. Pressure cookers are particularly suited for promoting the Maillard reaction because elevated temperatures encourage foods to develop their characteristic flavors…

As it so happens, this neat little science trick works on more than just carrots. Using a pressure cooker to caramelize the pumpkin as it cooks causes it to develop wonderful richness and complexity that ordinary pumpkin soups just cannot match. Even better, it’s done with just a hint of butter and no milk or cream.

Served with delightfully spiced and ever-so-sweet cider-poached pears and crunchy pumpkin seeds, this soup is the perfect decadent autumn treat!

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September 17, 2011

Avocado, Lime and Mint Soup

This soup is a perfect fit for the end of summer.

It combines the lime and mint that are signatures of many zesty, lighthearted summer with more heartier elements typical of autumnal favorites. Rain or shine (literally) it’ll fit the bill.

The rich, creaminess of the avocado forms the perfect base while the tartness of the lime forms the perfect counterbalance. On top of it all, the mint adds refreshing, crisp notes at the end of each bite.

One of the nicest things about this dish is that is can be served both warm or chilled. Straight off the stove top it makes the perfect accompaniment for coconut chicken or Mexican-spiced pork tenderloin. Chilled, its great by itself as an appetizer or as a light main course with bread and salad.

It’s a versatile dish, which means you have plenty of reasons to give it a shot.

Avocado, Lime and Mint Soup

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 avocados, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup of mint leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

  1. Heat a skillet to medium and add enough butter to coat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until semi-translucent, approximately 4 minutes.
  2. Add the diced avocado and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to simmer.
  3. Empty the contents of the skillet into a food processor. Add the zest and juice of the two limes along with the mint leaves and blend until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Serve either immediately or after it has chilled overnight.
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July 26, 2011

Gazpacho

If you couldn’t tell, I’m on a bit of a Spanish kick.

First, with the rustic, tangy Romesco Sauce and now with this Spanish culinary classic, Gazpacho.  Although Spanish food doesn’t have quite the reputation of French or Italian, it’s a highly underrated cuisine worthy of far more attention than it receives.

Gazpacho is a vegetable soup that is a served chilled for lunch or as a starter or side during dinner.  It only has a few ingredients (it definitely qualifies as a cheat dish, one which is easy to make can still be impressive), but the flavors work marvelously together.  The vegetable medley creates a strong foundation that is paired with some light spice from the raw onion and finished with smoky paprika and cumin notes.

Chilled, as it is meant to be served, makes it the perfect dish for a warm summer day (sure to return to Seattle soon, right? Right?).  In addition, this lighter version omits the bread, making this a raw-vegan dish – for those of you who care about that sort of thing.

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a Gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Gazpacho

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers, cored and seeded
  • 1 cucumber, seeded
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (either white wine or apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper

 

  1. Chop the tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber and onion into half inch cubes.  Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse on the lowest setting until lightly blended.
  2. Chill for at least one hour before serving.  (The longer you allow it to chill, however, the more the flavors will develop, so leave some leftovers!)
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