Chilled Potato Leek Soup With A Seared Scallop

Chilled Potato Leek Soup with a Seared Scallop and Caviar.

Potato Leek soup was made famous in the United States as Vichyssoise at the New York Ritz-Carlton.  It is a simple soup that can be served either hot or chilled.  You can use it as a base soup, adding pureed arugula or other greens to it.  You may also add caviar to make it a little more complex and elegant as I did as pictured.

 

Soup

3 large leeks

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ Cup sliced shallots

½ Cup sliced onion

Salt

Pepper

1 Large russet potato

1 Tablespoon minced Garlic

Sachet

5-6 Cups chicken stock

¾ Cup warmed heavy cream

½ Cup minced chives

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Scallop

1 Scallop per serving

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Caviar (optional)

Special Equipment

Immersion Blender

Cheesecloth

Preparing the soup:

Using only the pale green and white parts of the leeks cut them in half lengthwise and carefully wash them to remove and dirt that remains in them.  This is a vital step as leeks infamously hold onto dirt giving your soup a gritty texture.  Reserve outer leaves for sachet.  Cut leeks into approximately ¼ inch slices.  The size is not vital as you will be pureeing the soup later.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium low heat.  Add the leeks, shallots and onions seasoning liberally with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium and sweat the vegetables.  Stir often as this will take approximately 5 minutes.  Do not brown the vegetables, simply wilt them.

Peel and cut the potato lengthwise then cut into slices.  This should yield about 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups.

Add garlic to the sautéing vegetables, cook for a minute or two.  Add potatoes.  Make sachet: Take 2 or 3 dark leaves of leek, approximately 6-8 thyme sprigs, 2 sprigs of Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns and wrap the ingredients in 7-8 inch piece of cheesecloth.  Tie into a bundle with kitchen twine.  Add to vegetables.

Add chicken stock.  Simmer for ½ an hour or until the potatoes are tender.  At this point you may want to allow the soup to cool for 15-30 minutes before pureeing.  Puree soup with immersion blender being careful not to burn yourself.  You may strain your soup through a fine mesh strainer at this point for a more refined and consistent soup to make sure you have gotten rid of any chunks of potato or leeks that remain.  There should be no chunks.

Return the soup to the heat and bring to a simmer.  Add the cream and continue to simmer for at least 5 minutes.  If you are serving the soup hot add the chives, reserving some for a garnish.  If serving chilled reserve the chives for just before service.  Pour the soup into a container and place in an ice bath to cool before refrigerating.  The soup is best if served within 2-3 days.

Preparing the scallop:

At this point you have a lot of options for the scallop.  You could simply make a crudo and serve the scallop raw, butter poach the scallop or sear the scallop.  I chose to sear the scallop to give the soup the flavor and texture I was looking for.

Pull off the white foot from the scallop as this part gets very chewy when cooked.  Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  This part is very important if you wish to form the seared crust.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.  You may either apply a little olive oil to the scallops on both sides or to the skillet.

Liberally salt and pepper the scallop on both sides.  Add the scallops to the skillet, leaving an inch or so between scallops.  Do not overcrowd.  Cook for approximately 90 seconds.  Flips scallops, easiest way is to use tongs.  Sear scallops on other side for an additional 90 seconds.  Reserve scallops for serving.

Completing and serving:

Add the chives to the soup, reserving a Tablespoon or so per bowl.  Ladle soup into bowl and add 1 scallop per bowl.  At this point if you are using caviar, spoon a teaspoon on top of each scallop.  Of course the better the caviar, the better the soup.  Garnish soup with remaining chives, top each bowl with a little black pepper and serve immediately.

Taco Appetizer

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I first came across this recipe as part of a 4-H demonstration speech I attended.  I recall taking home the recipe and after our first try making it, it quickly becoming a family standard for parties and holidays.  This simple recipe comes together quickly and always is a crowd pleaser.

2 Ripe Avocados

8 Oz. Cream Cheese

1 Cup Sour Cream

Garlic Salt To Taste

Blend Avocado mixture.  Spread on Large Plate.

3 Cups Shredded Lettuce

2 Tomatoes

½ Lb. Cheddar Cheese

Tortilla Chips

Sprinkle other ingredients on top of avocado mixture. Use tortilla chips as dippers.

Hearty Swiss Cheese Bread

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This hearty bread is one of my favorites to make to accompany soups and stews.  It is  very easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.  I have brought this to numerous family and friends parties and dinners.  I am constantly asked for the recipe, so here I give it to the world.

½ Cup Sour Cream

1 Package Active Dry Yeast

1 Cup Warm Water

2 Tablespoons Sugar

2 Tablespoon Shortening

2 Teaspoons Salt

3 Cups Flour

1 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese

Butter

Heat sour cream until lukewarm.  Disolve yeast in warm water in a large mixer bowl.  Add sour cream, sugar, shortening, salt and 2 cups of flour.  Blend 30 seconds on low speed.  Constantly beat two minutes on medium spped, or beat by hand 300 strokes.  Stir in remaining flour and cheese until smooth.  Cover and let rise in a warm space until double in size, about 45 minutes.  Grease round layer pan, 9 X 1 ½ inch.  Stir down batter by beating for 25 strokes.  Spread evenly in pan.  Cover and let rise until doubles, about 40 minutes.  Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake until loaf sound hollow, about 45 minutes.  Brush top with butter.

Salmon Log Appetizer

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For an old school style potluck, party appetizer or snack this salmon log is a quick easy party pleaser.  There is nothing fancy about it, but tastes good.  Make sure you carefully pick through the canned salmon for bones and skin.  The higher quality salmon you buy the fewer bones you’ll have to pick from it.  I’ve taken this to a lot of parties when I do not have time for something more elegant and it has always been a crowd pleaser.

1 1 Lb. Can Salmon

12 Oz. Cream Cheese

1 Tbs. Lemon Juice

2 Tbs. Grated Onion

1 Tsp. Horseradish

¼ Tsp. Salt

¼ Tsp. Liquid Smoke

½ Cup Chopped Nuts

3 Tbs. Parsley

Drain Salmon.  Mix with next six ingredients.  Chill for several hours.  Combine nuts and parsley.  Shape salmon into loaf.  Roll in nut mixture.  Chill well. Serve with crackers.

Quick & Easy Teriyaki-Ginger Copper River Salmon

We all have found ourself wanting something quick and delicious for dinner more than we would like to admit.  This is a simple recipe I developed due to my love of Copper River Salmon.  If you’ve never tried it, then you really should.  It will blow away any salmon you have ever tried before.  Every year around May 15th I look forward to eating several meals of it during its short season.  You can eat three types: King, Sockeye and Silver salmon.  The high oil content of Copper River salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce heart disease and lower cholesterol. Additionally studies have found that fish oil can help combat ailments such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis,
breast cancer, and migraines. Of course also salmon is an excellent source of
protein and essential amino acids.

1 Copper River Salmon Filet

1 Tablespoon of Prepared (or homemade) Teriyaki Marinade

1 Inch Of Fresh Ginger, Grated or Finely Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil baking dish.  Brush teriyaki marinade liberally on salmon filet.  Sprinkle with fresh ginger.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until just cooked through.  Multiply recipe for number of diners.  An ear of corn or some fresh fruit and you have A great quick healthy meal.

 

Pacific Northwest Spaghetti

While living north of Seattle in Bellingham, Washington, almost twenty years ago now, I came upon a version of this pasta sauce.  Over the years I have experimented and manipulated the sauce, mostly with the amount of herbs, type and whether fresh or dried.  You can also vary the types of sausage to meet your taste or the taste of your guests.  This recipe feeds a lot of people.  The sauce also freezes very well.  I hope you enjoy.

1 Kielbasa Sausage

1 Pkg. Hot Links

1 Pkg. Smokies

1 Large Can Tomato Juice

1 Large Can Tomato Sauce

1 Small Can Tomato Paste

x Garlic

x Garlic Salt

x Garlic Powder

x Basil

x Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence

x Salt & Pepper

Slice sausage.  Combine all ingredients, with seasonings to taste.  Simmer on low uncovered for a minimum of 6 hours stirring often, or in a crock pot all day.  Serve over Angel Hair pasta.

x = to taste