Friday, November 12, 2010

An elegant soup with comfort food appeal:
Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup with Marinated Anchovies

The first time I decided I wanted to make a recipe with hazelnuts, I set out in search of them in the baking aisle of supermarkets.
   When I was unable to find them there, I went to the local health food store, where a clerk kindly explained that hazelnuts are also called filberts (and the store had them).
   Aha! It was a welcome piece of info – there are filberts in the baking aisle of many supermarkets!
   Many recipes call for taking the skin off of hazelnuts (filberts), and I’m much too lazy for that.
   I look for recipes that don’t call for skinning hazelnuts, such as Red Pepper and Hazelnut Soup with Marinated Anchovies (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   This is a fantastic soup. While it is elegant, it also has a comfort-food appeal with its creaminess (without a drop of cream!)
   It has a slightly zesty taste that makes one think feta cheese is lurking within, but there isn’t!
   This soup would make a lovely first course at a dinner party, or for a meal on a weeknight with salad and bread.
   The anchovy garnish that goes on top of the soup is essential to its success. My husband and I stirred the garnish into our soup before eating (slurping?), and the anchovies added a wonderful salty flavour.
   I wasn’t able to find the recipe on the or websites, but I was able to find it on a website called, and that’s what I linked to above.
   Although the soup looks like it may be complicated to make, it’s actually not.
   Three chopped red bell peppers, an onion, a tomato, dry sherry, olive oil and garlic cloves are simmered in a large heavy saucepan for about 20 minutes.
   Vegetable broth, hazelnuts, smoked paprika (McCormick offers this type of paprika), are added and simmered. A splash of sherry vinegar (we used red wine vinegar as a substitute) is added, and the soup is pureed. We used a hand blender so we didn’t have to transfer the soup to an upright blender.
   The garnish, which can be made up to two hours ahead and left at room temperature, is comprised of chopped anchovies, a shallot, chopped toasted hazelnuts, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and finely grated lemon peel.

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