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Posts tagged ‘roasted cauliflower’

Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham


Oh, March…you don’t really belong to winter…and yet you’re not a full-fledged spring month either.  Sigh…

I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I start craving all things spring.  Ramps, fiddleheads, greens, onions and asparagus, but there is one vegetable in particular that I look forward to the most.  Spring peas.  I think my devotion to the fresh-from-the-garden-spring-peas comes from disliking all peas that were placed in front of me before sometime in my mid-twenties…and is most likely related to the fact that 99% of those were of the frozen or canned variety.

Here’s a revelation.  This Spring Pea soup can be enjoyed any time of year.  Let me say that again, you can enjoy the delightful crisp and sweet taste of spring peas any time you feel like it.  Herein lies the genius of this Spanish Pea Soup with crispy ham and the Barefoot Contessa!  So even if it is still dumping snow in your neck of the woods…it can be springtime in your mouth!

Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham

Good olive oil
½ cup chopped shallots (2 large shallots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 pounds frozen peas, such as Bird’s Eye Sweet Garden
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thin slices Spanish Serrano ham or Italian prosciutto

In a deep (8 x 5-inch) heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until coarsely pureed, season to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ham in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until crisp.

Reheat the soup and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of crispy ham on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.

The ham is an integral part of this dish…a nice salty and crunchy complement to the sweet peas.  We opted to serve some crusty bread alongside and we couldn’t resist yet another Barefoot Contessa recipe for Garlic Roasted Cauliflower to make the dinner a bit heartier.

This is so simple, quick and fresh that it makes a perfect weeknight meal, and leftovers are wonderful, even served cold for lunch with a dollop of creme fraiche and of course the drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt!

What is your favorite spring craving?

 

 

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Seared Scallops with Roasted Caulifower Soup, Peppery Olive Oil & Fresh Parsley!


Scallops are like the tenderloin of the sea.  If I spot a seared scallop dish on a menu…it’ll be hard to steer me in another direction.  Seared in butter, with a nutty sweetness and tender texture…I could eat them right out of the pan, but plop them in a delicious soup with a little something extra…and, I’m DONE!  Stick-a-fork-in-me-done!  And just one bowl of soup, simply presented is completely satisfying.

Instructions are simple:

Take one head of cauliflower, cut it up into rough chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 375º oven for 20 minutes, or until brown around the edges and your kitchen smells wonderful.  Prep the scallops by letting them rest on a plate on a counter so they come to room temperature, which helps with sear.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit.  The salt actually helps bring soluble proteins to the surface which will also help develop a nice crust.  Once the cauliflower is cooked, let cool and then toss into a soup pot, add in chicken or vegetable broth to almost cover.  If you want a little more complex flavor, you could sweat some onions in the pot first and then dump the rest in.  Bring it to a boil and then break out your immersion blender.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you don’t know what you’re missing…it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances and is a very inexpensive addition to your culinary toolbox.)  Purée the bejeezus out of it…the silkier the better.  And if you really want to get fancy you can break out a chinois, or strainer and make sure you’ve caught any sneaky chunks.  Season again with salt and pepper and any additional flavors you want; truffle salt would be interesting…maybe some smoked paprika…fresh herbs…you could go a lot of directions.  Keep the soup warm and sear the scallops in butter with at least a touch of oil which will help prevent the butter from burning.  When the pan is hot, add in the scallops, and make sure to not crowd the pan.  Leave the little guys be in the pan…don’t move them around, don’t peek underneath.  Just 2-4 minutes on the first side, flip them and cook for another 2 minutes and they will be done.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SCALLOPS!  It would be an atrocity of great proportion and the scallop police would come find you, take you away and feed you rubbery overcooked seafood for the rest of your life to prove a point.  Don’t do it!

Portion the soup out into shallow bowls, drop in the scallops, drizzle with a favorite olive oil and finish with a scattering of parsley and just a touch of sea salt!  Voilá!

You can thank me later!

Dinner a few weeks ago…Goat Cheese Mushroom Burgers with Roasted Cauliflower


Burgers with mushroom duxelle and goat cheese crumbles served with roasted cauliflower, wilted spinach and quick roasted cherry tomatoes.

Delicious, filling, and used up a whole bunch of leftovers and veggies we had lying around!

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