The fruit and vegetable stands are starting to open up in Essex County and the first few things to come out are hothouse peppers and tomatoes. This recipe celebrates the great flavours you can get in early spring. I do have a confession, I don’t like red peppers for the most part. I can appreciate them but it’s not something I seek out to cook with or eat. With that said this soup is pretty fantastic and if you don’t want to make it, you should buy a litre from me.
1 Onion (diced)
4 Red Peppers (roasted, skinned, seeded)
3 Tomatoes (quartered and roasted)
2 cloves Garlic (diced)
1 litre Veggie Broth
Parmigiano Reggiano (Rinds)
1 tbs Thyme
2 leaves Sage
On a grill you want to first roast your tomatoes and peppers. You want to get a silicon brush and kind of paint on your oil as the veggies roast. You’re looking for some nice colour on the tomatoes and look for the pepper’s skin to blister. This may seem like an unnecessary step to take but this will really concentrate your flavours as well as give you some big smokey notes in the soup. You then want to refrigerate both the tomato and peppers. While you are letting them cool add you onions and garlic to your oiled pot on medium heat, sweat those down than add salt, sage and thyme. Instead of deglazing with stock you will want to deglaze with your tomatoes so they can add to the nice fond at the bottom of the pot. Take your cool peppers and remove the skins by hand, they should come off pretty easily because of the refrigeration. You then want to carefully pull out the stem which should bring the seed pod with it. Pepper seeds can add bitterness and bad textural elements to the soup so you want to make sure you’re not adding seeds to the soup(unless you want to strain the soup after.) You then want to give your skinned and seeded peppers a rough chop and add them to your soup. Cook this all down while periodically adding the stock. You then want to bring the heat down and simmer for 2 hours, you also want to add some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds to the soup. They will add tons of flavour and also help thicken the soup, it is also a great way to find a use for that left over cheese you just can’t get to with a grater. When the simmering is finished grab your immersion blender and puree the soup into a smooth consistency. This soup would be great with a nice piece of garlic bread to dip and maybe a little parsley for colour. Enjoy.