Dinner, 23 October 2006

Zucchini Soup

Clockwise from top left: unsalted Danish butter; two zucchini, diced; two ribs celery (leaves and stalks), chopped; one onion, diced; 1 T. chopped fresh marjoram; 1 T. chopped fresh thyme; sour cream; 2 cups homemade chicken stock.

Onions sauteed in butter, roughly 4-5 minutes or until they change color.

Combine vegetables and herbs; drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; sweat covered over medium-low heat, roughly 7 to 8 minutes or until zucchini has softened.

Add chicken stock. Canned is fine, but I prefer homemade because you have quality control.

For those of you who want to make your own chicken stock, a good resource is the eGullet Culinary Institute or eGCI. Here is the eGCI course on stockmaking and sauces.

Bring to a gentle simmer, about 3-4 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree in a blender and transfer to a pot. Add sour cream and light cream and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning.

The recipe I originally learned calls for a bechamel sauce composed of unsalted butter, 2 T. flour and 1 cup scalding milk, then combined with the stock. The sauce is used as a thickening agent. If you want to make this version, make a basic roux with the butter and flour, then add milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, then combine with vegetables in a blender and proceed as above. Omit the sour cream and light cream. I prefer this version shown here, however.

Voila.

* * *

Scallops and Frisee Salad

1 pat unsalted butter, melted.

Sear scallops over medium-high heat, on both sides, roughly 2 to 3 minutes; transfer.

Half a shallot, minced and 1 T. capers, sauteed in pan drippings. Cook until shallots are golden brown; transfer.

Deglaze pan with 1/4 c. fresh squeezed orange juice. Whisk in 1 T. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Reduce over medium-high heat or until juice has thickened to a glaze, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Assembly: Plate frisee, scallops and shallot garnish; drizzle with orange reduction, garnish with chopped herbs and serve immediately.

This recipe makes 2 appetizer servings or 1 entree.

For those of you who want to see the pix in all their gigantic and luscious glory, click on the photo bar on the right hand side of your screen.

2 thoughts

  1. How does a New Yorker find time to make his own chicken stock? Or do you have day laborers over to take care of menial tasks like that?

    You have made me hungry, and I’ve promised to mail cookies so I can’t eat those. I’ll have to get something sweet to fill me up.

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  2. How does a New Yorker find time to make his own chicken stock? Or do you have day laborers over to take care of menial tasks like that?

    Heh. It only took a day of which only 1 hour was spent doing actual physical work. Cut up vegetables, throw in chicken, add water and let it sit on a stove for anywhere from six to twelve hours, skim as necessary, take chicken out and pick off meat, throw carcass back in; when done, cool and let the fridge take care of the rest. Defatting is easy, just lift off the fat with a spoon. Ditto for straining and storage. I didn’t bother reducing it.

    One reward, besides having your own homemade liquid gold — because after you make stock the first time, you’ll never go back to canned — is that your house/apartment/living situation smells absolutely wonderful.

    As I type this, there’s 2 quarts in the freezer, sitting in ice cube trays and plastic tupperware.

    It’s easy and relatively painless, I think. 😉

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