Yesterday I picked up the last gift that I needed to complete my list. The days have been flying by with amazing speed and I am ready for it all to slow down. Family will start arriving tomorrow and I am excited for the time we will have together. And so for today we will enjoy this simple but elegant soup from the cookbook "La Tartine Gourmande" by "Beatrice Peltre". Happy Holidays!
Fennel and Pea Soup:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, (finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (finely ground)
1 leek white parts (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large fennel bulb (greens and cord discarded, sliced)
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Dash of Sichuan pepper (finely ground)
3 cups fresh or frozen peas
For Wasabi Cream Garnish:
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon Wasabi paste
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
For the Shrimp Garnish:
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 garlic clove (minced)
Dash of ground cumin
12 large shrimp, (peeled and de-veined)
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare soup:
In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then add the shallot, fennel seeds, and leek and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring without browning, until the aromas start to come out. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the fennel softens. Pour in the chicken stock, season with salt and Sichuan pepper, and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes, until they are bright green but no longer raw.
Remove from the heat and transfer the soup to the bowl of a food processor. Puree the soup and pass it through a fine sieve, pressing on the pea skins to remove as much puree as possible. The broth will be thin. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
To Prepare Wasabi Cream:
Beat the cream with the wasabi and salt. When the cream forms soft peaks, add the chervil and continue to beat for 10 more seconds.
To Prepare the Shrimp:
Heat the safflower oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, cumin and shrimp, cook quickly, stirring 1 minute on each side.Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, dice 8 of the shrimp, discarding the tails, and keep the other 4 shrimp whole; set aside.
To serve, reheat the pea soup over medium heat. Take 4 shallow bowls and place a 4-inch ring mold in the middle. Divide the chopped shrimp into the 4 molds and top each with one of the whole shrimp. Ladle the pea soup around the shrimp, remove the molds, and serve the soup with a dollop of the wasabi-flavored cream.