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Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup

It's been a long time since I've stopped buying cooking magazines, more or less since I've started giving in shamelessly to the books that Uncle Amazon suggests every week. I swear, though, it's not my fault if this recipe comes from the last issue of Bon Appetit.
The thing is, those over at Sur la Table gave me the magazine subscription as a gift, since my level of spending in their stores has been considered VERY IMPORTANT. I don't know why, but I have a feeling that this isn't something you should be proud of. So please, don't tell anybody.


Red Pepper Hazelnut Soup
for 4

For the soup
red bell pepper, large 3 (about 700 gr., net)
cherry tomatoes about ten
onion 1/2
garlic 2 cloves
hazelnut about 40 gr. (1/4 cup)
dry sherry (optional) to taste
olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, vegetable stock to taste

To garnish
marinated white anchovy fillets 3
hazelnut 8-10
shallot 1/2
olive oil, lemon juice and grated lemon peel to taste


Mince onion and peel garlic cloves. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot and saute onion and garlic for few minutes. Rinse bell peppers and cut them in large pieces; rinse cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Add vegetables to the onion after few minutes, then add half a cup of white wine (I didn't use it). When alcohol has evaporated, cover with vegetable stock and bring to boil at medium heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Season with salt, pepper and paprika, then add hazelnuts (for a stronger taste, you can previously toast them in the oven). Let the soup boil for another 10 minutes, then puree it with an immersion blender. Adjust taste with salt and pepper, and if necessary, put it back on the stove to thicken.
Meanwhile, toast the remaining hazelnuts in the oven and coarsely chop them with marinated anchovy fillets, shallot, one tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice and some grated lemon peel. Serve the soup and sprinkle each bowl with this coarse pesto.
(White anchovies are a recent discovery. Being a lot more delicate than regular anchovies, to my taste it's better to use them in things like this, where they are not cooked).
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