|For the vegetable cream soup|
|For the topping|
For the vegetable cream soup
Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables. Set one tomato aside to use for the topping in the final step of the recipe.
Peel and dice the onion and garlic cloves. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the onion and garlic, and sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes until translucent.
Make sure that the saucepan doesn’t get too hot because the garlic burns easily. Sautéing allows the flavor of an ingredient to develop slowly.
Add the bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes, and the leek and sauté for 5 more minutes.
Then add the zucchini, smoked paprika (or ground paprika), the bay leaf, and the parsley. Deglaze the mixture using the vegetable broth.
The temperature should be set higher until the broth boils. Then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, take the bay leaf out of the broth, and purée the soft vegetables using an immersion blender. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
For the topping
Heat the vinegar in a skillet and let it reduce for a few minutes.
This allows the vinegar to thicken. Heating the vinegar may result in a pungent odor — it is advisable to open a window or turn on the fan above your stove.
In the original, the author uses sherry vinegar instead of red wine. Since this is a special ingredient and is not readily available, we have replaced it with the more commonly available red wine vinegar.
Cut the remaining tomato into slices and add to the reduced vinegar in the saucepan. Let cook for a few minutes until the vinegar evaporates.
Pour the soup into bowls and top with the tomato slices. If desired, you can grind pepper can on the soup or garnish with herbs.
Variations to the recipe: In the original, the author uses sherry vinegar instead of red wine. Since this is a special ingredient and is not readily available, we have replaced it with the more commonly available red wine vinegar. The milder it is, the better it will work for this vegetable cream soup. However, if you happen to have it on hand, you can use sherry instead of red wine.
Green bell peppers: Unlike chili peppers, green bell peppers aren’t spicy and they have a sweet and slightly bitter flavor. Fresh bell peppers have a shiny, crisp, and firm appearance. They are usually somewhat more inexpensive than the more mature orange or red varieties, which have a lower chlorophyll content. The green leaf pigment called chlorophyll is primarily used to generate energy in photosynthesis, but bell peppers break down chlorophyll over the course of ripening, revealing the orange-red colors that indicate the presence of carotenoids.
Zucchini: Zucchini shouldn’t be stored near apples, tomatoes, or other climacteric fruits. These fruits emit ethylene during the ripening process, which causes the zucchini to quickly ripen and spoil. You should not eat zucchini that taste bitter as this can be an indication of toxic bitter substances that can attack the gastrointestinal mucosa. When growing your own zucchini, you should make sure to neither cross-pollinate them using your own seeds nor to cross zucchini with other squash as this can result in a higher content of toxic bitter substances.
Types and availability of smoked paprika: Smoked paprika is a typical Spanish spice that is available in a number of varieties such as sweet, sweet-sour, and hot. For this recipe, the author uses sweet smoked paprika. Although smoked paprika is a ground paprika, it can’t be compared to conventional sweet paprika. The special way that it is made by smoking pimiento peppers makes smoked paprika a unique spice. It is available in specialty stores, on the Internet, and sometimes in larger supermarkets.
Reducing the salt: The high salt content of this recipe comes primarily from the vegetable broth. If you make your own broth or instead use some vegetable stock (depending on the concentration 200–300 ml and then the rest water), this recipe can be made using relatively little salt. You can also refrain from adding additional salt and pepper to taste if the vegetable broth itself contains enough salt.
Using a variety of vegetables: In general, you can use most any kind of vegetable you have on hand when making vegetable cream soups. However, for this Minorcan soup, both the typical Spanish smoked paprika and the specific combination of vegetables are responsible for the amazing taste results. Fennel and eggplant are exceptions as they can be added without a change in taste, and you can also add 1–2 chili peppers if you prefer a spicier soup.