Thursday, May 1, 2008

Roasted Sesame and Carrot Soup

Another dish that falls into the category of "made entirely from things on hand at the house I was house sitting for."

Clearly I'm not the first to say this, but the more I learn about something, the more I realize there is to learn. Take roasting nuts and seeds. For years I've thought that a quick brown in a dry skillet was all there was to it. Until my last read of the Trout Point Lodge Cookbook, which recommends a slower, lower heat -- about 20 minutes. All this time I've just been searing my nuts, but their method allows the heat to penetrate to the core, providing a full and thorough roast. Reminds me of the NYT article about how we use heat.

In other words, I roasted some sesame seeds and learned something about myself. I then browned several split cloves of garlic and threw in the chunks of carrots, giving them a literal flash in the pan. Soon after I added water, simmered, and waited. Of course there was sea salt and freshly ground b.p., and towards the end I added a small handful of chopped, fresh tarragon. Partly because I like it, partly because I'm fascinated by the way the licorice flavor compound spans different plant species. With few ingredients and no additional purchases, we had a fantastic dish that served as the cornerstone for the meal.

All you really need to make carrot soup is to steam carrots and then put them through a blender with the cooking water and a touch of salt. All you need to make the ever so popular carrot ginger soup is to do the same with ginger. But I rarely make the same thing twice, and the sesame seeds were calling me. They imparted a depth of flavor that you rarely get without good stock. Sesame seeds: shortcut to soup.

They also made this usually bright dish a little earthy and heavy, so I topped each bowl with strips of crisped leeks and a blob of everyone's favorite yogurt (this week), Fage.

Now that it had texture and tang, all it needed was to be slurped.

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Karen B said...

I love fage. I imagine that roasting the carrots rather than steaming them would be quite flavourful. I'm a bit of a slavish recipe following--I like to have a little better than boullion on hand for one I don't have homemade stock.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog, the photos are wonderful but it's leeks (for the record).

Aaron Kagan said...

You're absolutely right. "Leaks" are what I take after having too much soup.

Jay said...

way to save the highbrow humor for the comments page Aaron.

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