Saturday 28 January 2012

Zuppa Reale (Royal Soup)

From The Vegeterranean: Italian Vegetarian Cooking, Malu Simõs & Alberto Musacchio, Simon & Schuster, 2008.

I have a fondness for soups (as is probably obvious). This royal soup looked very interesting and while it had several elements to it, I thought it was worthwhile having a go at it.

The first step was to make the stock. Tomatoes, an onion, zucchinis, carrots, potatoes and celery were cut into reasonably sized pieces and placed into a pan of water and simmered for at least an hour. The mixture was then strained to obtain the stock.

The interesting content for the soup was made while the stock was simmering away. Some egg was beaten with a little semolina, some grated parmesan, and pepper and salt. This was fried in small portions in a pan so that it was able to spread to make a thin little fritter. When the fritters were all done they were cut up into 5 mm squares.

The greens for the soup were escarole but as I had some English spinach on hand I decided to use that. This was blanched in hot water, then drained and roughly chopped. Some olive oil was heated in a pan with garlic added and cooked until it was golden. At this stage the spinach was added and cooked a little longer.

The stock was reheated and the spinach and little fritters were added and simmered for a few minutes. Some cubed soft cheese was placed at the bottom of the serving bowls and the soup placed over it.

This was a different soup that was quite enjoyable. The fritter pieces were tasty savoury bites. The cheese melted into the clear, gently flavoured stock and aided its texture. The spinach added a bitter tang. All in all a pleasing mixture of textures and flavours.

 Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔

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