Sunday, April 26, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

The first time I visited Kitchen Arts and Letters, I had no idea what I wanted. There were professional cookbooks, vintage cookbooks, international cookbooks, baking books, preserving books- essentially any title a home cook would want.

Feeling lost, I asked an employee to recommend a simple-but-really-good cookbook for everyday use. He handed me Cucina Fresca by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman and started raving about a marinated wild rice salad. I flipped through the first few chapters and decided it was perfect.

Since then, i've seen the book repeatedly mentioned in print and on the web. It's quickly become one of my favorites. Most of the recipes feature bold, fresh flavors from ingredients like herbs, meats, oils/extracts, and citrus, and techniques like marinating and grilling. I make the herb-stuffed eggplant and this roasted red pepper soup on a fairly regular basis.

Since this soup is so simple, the quality of ingredients used will significantly impact the taste. Homemade chicken stock would taste best, but i've had good results using Swanson and Kitchen Basics brands. I use canned San Marzano tomatoes. While the original recipe says to seed whole canned tomatoes, I think diced tomatoes would taste just as good (and save some time).

I like eating this soup warm, garnished with some grated parmesan and slivered basil.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
adapted from La Place and Kleiman's Cucina Fresca

4 meaty red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
2 cups imported italian canned tomatoes, seeded and drained
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 cups defatted chicken stck
salt and freshly ground black pepper
basil leaves for garnish
paper thin lemon slices, for garnish

Puree three of the peppers and all of the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until finely textured but not completely smooth. Cut the remaining pepper into thin julienne strips and set aside.

Gently heat the olive oil and garlic. When the garlic releases its fragrance, after about 2 minutes, stir in the pureed pepper and tomato mixture. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let the soup cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Tear basil leaves into pieces and scatter over soup. Float a lemon slice in each bowl.


Irene said...

This looks great - perfect, simple flavors. I'd love the recipe for the eggplant as well.

lorraine spaziani said...

So glad to see you again. Your photos, directions and recipes are always top notch. Auntie

Em said...

That looks delish.