Category Archives: Shallots

Fresh Pea and Fennel Soup with Mint

Finding English peas at my market inspired me to make this special springtime soup. I also found large spring scallions and fennel which are naturals with peas. I like the dark flecks of green from the chopped fresh mint that I added before pureeing the vegetables. I like this soup served warm and I like it thick and blended on the chunkier side. However, the soup can be thinned with more broth. Fresh pea soup is a nice starter for a spring dinner party featuring leg of lamb for the entrée or all by itself with fresh bread like, Italian Rosemary Buns. This is a simple soup to make with the only time consuming part being the shelling of the fresh peas and they can be substituted with frozen petite peas.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium shallots, sliced thin, I used my Cuisinart for all slicing
3 large spring scallions, sliced thin
2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups shelled fresh English peas ( about 3-4 pounds of peas in pods)
4-5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, add shallots, spring onions, fennel and garlic. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add the peas and stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the chicken stock. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until peas are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Cool the soup before adding the fresh mint. Purée the soup in batches in a blender or with a stick blender in the soup pot. Thin the soup with additional chicken stock if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. This soup can be made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Ladle into a soup tureen or individual bowls and garnish with mint.
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Spring Cabbage Soup

Say goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring with this soup recipe! I make a lot of potato leek soup, ask Scott, he’ll tell you, ‘that was good, now what’s for dinner?’ Then I say,’ how about some bread with your soup’. And that’s how it goes at our house when I make soup for dinner. I had almost all the ingredients for this soup from my Betty’s Organics box. The only problem I have with the weekly delivery of the box is a surplus of kiwi fruit that I’ve been holding onto for awhile. I need to call Betty and tell her to hold the Kiwis. I would like to make some soda bread this week so I bought some buttermilk, hopefully I’ll make my soda bread so I won’t be trying to figure out a recipe for buttermilk and kiwis.

The idea for the Spring cabbage soup came from an Irish cookbook,’The New Irish Table’. I also added whole milk to the soup which is from their recipe which makes the soup look lighter and velvety. A few small changes to my usual recipe for potato leek soup and I have a simple creation which could be served in Ireland.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 leeks, white parts sliced thin
2 russet potatoes, cut in cubes
2 shallots, minced
2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 fresh bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs, to sprinkle on top for serving

1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot. Add all the veggies, including garlic, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

2. Remove the soup from the heat, discard the bay leaf and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. I use a stick or immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth.

3. Return the soup pot to a low heat and stir in the whole milk. Cook over medium heat until hot. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with herbs.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Spaghetti Squash and Mint Pesto

The evenings have turned cool here this week which signals the end of our Indian Summer tomato season. I like to roast tomatoes because they smell and taste good but also because they are easy and rewarding to prepare. I decided to use my roast tomatoes in a soup with a delicious fall vegetable, spaghetti squash which works great because you can roast the tomatoes and the squash at the same time. I also have an herb container overflowing with mint that I have been trying to think of ways to use. I like the addition of the mint pesto to the soup, it gives it a little fresh color and some nice mint flavor as well.

Soup

3 pounds Roma tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 & 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 & 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 shallots, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice the tomatoes in half and place the cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes and the squash at the same time in a 400 degree oven until brown and tender. Set aside and cool slightly.

2. In a heavy medium size pot saute the shallots in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes until tender. Set aside to add to the tomatoes.

3. Transfer the tomatoes and the shallots to a blender or food processor and process until slightly chunky, then pass them through a food mill or strainer into a large bowl. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Place the tomato mixture back in the pot and add some vegetable or chicken stock if you want to thin the soup. I added about one cup of chicken stock to my tomato soup.

4. Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes while making the mint pesto.

mint pesto

1 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt

1. Blend ingredients together in a food processor until a coarse puree forms. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Season with salt.

Using two forks separate the strands of spaghetti squash and mound up in the center of a soup bowl. Ladle the tomato soup into the bowl and place a small amount of the mint pesto on top of the squash.

Chicken Paillard with Escarole Salad

My son Taylor asked me for this recipe for chicken, it originally came from a cooking magazine. This is an easy way to prepare chicken with a small salad. My husband, Scott also likes the chicken and the salad dressing because he ate all his salad.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, placed in a bag and pounded until flat
1 & 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 & 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large head of escarole, washed, dried and torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup whole walnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the chicken in a pyrex dish and coat with olive oil and mustard. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. In a small bowl whisk together shallots, walnut oil, creme fraiche, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while cooking the chicken.

3. On a large plate mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Dredge chicken in the bread crumb mixture and set aside on a new plate.

4. Preheat a large nonstick grill pan and generously coat it with olive oil. Transfer chicken to the hot grill pan and cook 4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Cover cooked chicken loosely with foil to keep warm while cooking remaining chicken.

5. In a large bowl toss together the escarole with the dressing and serve with the chicken.

Serves 4 generously.

Salad with Green Beans and Gravenstein Apples


I love the smell and taste of Gravenstein apples, I can’t resist them. I was inspired to create something a little bit different then I had planned when I went to the market. So, I put them in my salad, no problem.

8-10 Cups arugula and escarole, cleaned and dried, tear escarole leaves into pieces
2 handfuls green beans, nice fairly thin ones, blanched for 1-2 minutes and placed in ice water
1 cup toasted walnuts
1 thinly sliced Gravenstein apple
1 minced small shallot
4 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together walnut oil, champagne wine vinegar, creme fraiche, shallot, sea salt and pepper, set aside for flavors to develop while putting together salad.

2. In a large bowl put together arugula, escarole, apple. green beans and walnuts. Add dressing to salad and mix together.

Serve on your grandmother’s best glass tea sandwich platter.

Pink and Green New Zealand Mussels


2 pounds New Zealand mussels, scrub and remove beards
1 Cup thinly sliced shallots
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Cups of rose wine
¼ Cup finely chopped lovage or parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
French bread

1. In a heavy pot large enough to hold the mussels, sauté the shallots in the olive oil until soft.

2. Add the wine and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the mussels to the pot turn up the heat and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until all the mussels have opened.

3. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the hot broth with the shallots from the pot into the bowl with mussels.

4. Serve with French bread.

Trip to France: Asparagus Radish Walnut Salad


1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed and peeled
1 bunch white asparagus, trimmed and peeled
1 cup French radishes, sliced lengthwise
¼ cup minced chives
½ cup walnut halves
1 large shallot, sliced thin
3 T olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the sliced shallots in a small skillet with ½ T of olive oil until golden brown and remove from the pan. Wipe out the pan and put back on heat, add the walnuts and toast until slightly brown. Stir shallots and walnuts together and set aside.

Prepare a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the white asparagus and cook for about 3 -4 minutes before adding the green asparagus. Depending on the thickness of asparagus gently cook for 4-8 minutes, until just tender. Transfer asparagus to ice water, when cool remove from water and drain.

In a medium bowl whisk together 2 T olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix in French radishes and chives.

Arrange asparagus on a platter and drizzle with remaining 1 T olive oil. Add shallot walnut mixture and radish chive salad to platter. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with a Cotes de Provence Rose.