Friday, January 14, 2011

Rosemary Pumpkin Soup with Saffron Ice Cream and Winter Pesto

Photo by Sergio Salvador
www.salvadorphoto.com
Exciting news! I'm thrilled to now have gorgeous photos by Sergio Salvador for my Edible Santa Fe recipes, and he's nice enough to let me use the images for my blog as well.  I'm really looking forward to working with Sergio - check out his other work at www.salvadorphoto.com.

Serve this basic pumpkin soup in a pretty glass with an unusual garnish, and it becomes art! The contrast of the hot, savory soup with the cool sweetness of the saffron ice cream is surprising and delightful. The saffron ice cream is delicious on its own, and it's easy to make - you just mix saffron with plain vanilla ice cream. 

The recipe is adapted from my new favorite cookbook of all time, Anya Von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table. Every recipe is amazing, using simple ingredients that are not too difficult to find, and combining them in creative and exciting ways!
Soup:
2 lbs. winter squash (any kind will do)
1 lb. sweet potatoes
Olive oil
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1 T. finely grated orange zest
1 sprig rosemary
4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 C. cream (optional)
Salt and pepper
Saffron Ice Cream:
1 small pinch saffron
2 T. hot milk
1 C. best-quality vanilla ice cream
Winter Pesto:
1 clove of garlic
2 T. olive oil
2 T. pinon nuts
1 C. parsley
1 small sprig of rosemary
2 small sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Remove seeds from the squash, brush the cut side(s) with olive oil. Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly and rub the skins with olive oil. Bake the vegetables 1 to 1½ hours, until they are very tender.
Pulverize the saffron with the back of a spoon in a small bowl. Pour hot milk over it and let it steep until completely cool. Let the ice cream stand until soft enough to stir (or microwave 5-10 seconds). Mix thoroughly with the saffron milk, cover the bowl, and re-freeze.
If you're making your own pesto, pulse garlic, olive oil and pinon in food processor until finely chopped. Add herbs and process until a fairly smooth paste is formed. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Photo by Sergio Salvador www.salvadorphoto.com
When the squash and sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skins and mash or cut into chunks. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a soup pot on low flame. Add onion, orange zest and rosemary, and cook until onions are soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and vegetables, and cook about 10 minutes more. Remove the rosemary sprig and puree the soup with a hand blender (or do it in 2-3 batches in a normal blender). Add cream and season with salt and pepper.
Serve in small tumblers or martini glasses garnished with a little scoop of saffron ice cream and dab of pesto. Serves 8 as an appetizer.
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