Monday 30 July 2012

Red Pepper Soup with Cheese and Herb Floats

From The Inspired Vegetarian, Louise Pickford, Stewart Tabori and Chang, 1992.

This soup attracted me by the fact that it was made with roasted red capsicums and it had cheesy floats to go in the soup. There was strong appeal here for me.

Two capsicums (peppers) were placed under a grill and cooked until the skins were blackened. They were then placed in a plastic bag and left to steam.

Meanwhile a red onion and garlic were sautéed in a pan until soft. A potato cut into pieces and some chopped parsley and sage were now added and sautéed for a further few minutes. About a quart of water was now added with a chopped tomato (the recipe called for tomato juice but I decided on just using a tomato), a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch (large) of cayenne pepper. They were brought to the boil and simmered for about half an hour.

By now the capsicums were cool enough to handle so they were peeled and the seeds discarded, though as much of the juice as possible was retained. The capsicums and juice went into the blender with the soup and it was pureed. Before reheating to serve a little cream was added.

For the cheese floats a mixture of about 2 tablespoons of ricotta, 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino cheese, 2 tablespoons of semolina, 1 tablespoon of mixed chopped herbs, a small pinch of nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon juice were mixed together with half a beaten egg. This was seasoned to taste.

When it was serving time, a pot of salted water was brought to the boil and the float mixture was dropped in a teaspoonful at a time. I didn’t manage to make mine into oval shapes as they were not of a texture conducive to this. But they cooked all right despite their shape. The soup was served in bowls with some floats.

The soup had a wonderfully rich smoky flavour from the roasted peppers. It was a smooth rather silky texture. The disappointment was the floats. These were doughy and somehow had missed out on the flavours of both the cheeses and the herbs.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

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