Nothing says comfort like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night. What if you could take this concept and make it elegant for the holidays without losing the warm feeling that comes along with it?
Of the many parties and events I have attended, I have noticed an increased trend of serving small shot glasses or tiny cups of delicious soups. Whether served on a tray by a passing caterer, or as a tasty trio for a first course, soups will always be the perfect start to a fantastic meal; and are a meal in and of themselves with the right accoutrements. That is where the idea for this blog was born.
“Soup-up” means to make greater in power or appeal. While this term is generally tied to automobiles, I’d argue that the addition of fine caviar or roe to your favorite soup, undoubtedly increases its appeal. The holidays are a perfect time for inviting friends and family to share in your culinary inventiveness, and Pacific Plaza is here to help you make your event even more special.
In the last year, I have become obsessed with making homemade soups, which I can freeze and reheat year round. Winter is the perfect time to share some of my tried and tested recipes that are sure to add warmth to your holiday parties and meals. Pairing these recipes with some of Pacific Plaza’s best caviars and roes enhances these already great flavors, and will impress even your most discerning guests with their sophisticated presentations and mouthwatering taste.
The recipes below could absolutely be served full-sized bowls, but they are displayed here in small glasses, cups and bowls to give you ideas for presentation and plating, cocktail style.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
#1 Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraiche and Caviar
1 Bundle Asparagus
4 Cloves Garlic
6 Cups Organic Chicken Broth or Stock (if you use a stock without salt, you will have to add it to taste)
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
4 tablespoons Heavy cream
2 tablespoons salted butter
Caviar (Photographed here with Plaza Paddle Fish Roe and Plaza Capelin Caviar)
Note: any darker roe or caviar may be used, I would also recommend pairing with Plaza Baerii or Plaza Osetra.
Wash asparagus and cut of only the very ends that may be discolored and discard
Cut off the tips of the asparagus, leaving pieces about 3 inches long and set aside for later presentation
Cut the remaining asparagus into 2-3 inch segments and put into a pot with the broth
Coarsely chop the Garlic and add it to the pot
Simmer the asparagus in the broth until very tender
Stir in the heavy cream and butter and bring to a simmer then turn off the soup
Allow to cool for 10 minutes
While the soup is cooling, take your asparagus tips and place them in a roasting pan tossing with a little olive oil, salt and pepper
Put into a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, remove and set aside
Use either a hand blender or a traditional blender and blend soup until smooth
Put the soup through a fine strainer and return to the pot to heat right before serving
Once at temperature, arrange Asian style soup spoons in a circle on a round tray to begin assembly
Assemble as photographed in small bowls, spoons or shot classes as preferred – accompanied by crème fraiche and roasted asparagus spears.
#2 Butternut Squash Soup
1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 for cooking 2 for finishing)
4 cloves of garlic
1 large yellow onion
6 cups chicken stock
Nutmeg to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut squash into 1-2 inch pieces, peel and smash garlic and chop onion
Melt 2 tbl butter (or use olive oil) Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes
Add garlic cloves and sautee with onion in the last minute of cooking
Add squash and stock
Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes
Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree squash until your soup is smooth (If you do not have a hand blender, remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree, then return blended squash to pot.)
Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste (note: the caviar will add a salty flavor to your soup, so do not over salt)
#3 Carrot Ginger Soup
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 large cloves of garlic
8 cups chicken broth – (keep additional broth on hand – you want to make sure the vegetables are covered in broth while they cook, so that they all cook evenly)
4 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
10 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (this is a lot of ginger – so feel free to lessen the volume if you are not a fan. However, please note, that the strong ginger flavor added a nice heat and combined beautifully with the caviar).
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Plaza Baerrii or Plaza White Sturgeon Roe
In a large pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
Add peeled and smashed garlic in last minute of cooking
Add broth, carrots, and ginger
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced
Remove from heat and blend with a hand blender until smooth
Return the soup to the stove and bring to a boil
Add salt and pepper, to taste
Spoon into small cups, bowls or glasses
Add a small dollop or line of sour cream
Adorn with your favorite black Plaza caviar (here, Plaza Baerrii, White Surgeon Caviar)
#4 Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Lump Crab Meat and Caviar
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, (red, yellow, orange, may use others for garnish) cored and diced
1 English (seedless) cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion, peeled and cut into a fine dice
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tbl cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt (~to taste)
1 1∕2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper (you can remove the seeds if you want to decrease the heat factor)
2 tbls heavy cream (for color and texture)
¼ lb lump crab meat
Fresh Sage Leaves
Black Caviar – Plaza Classic or Plaza Baerrii Sturgeon Roe
Prepare vegetables and other ingredients as described above.
Add all fresh ingredients to a blender and process until smooth
Taste and add heavy cream, salt and pepper as desired and process again
Allow to sit and cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes (this will remove air from the blending and make the temperature consistent)
Grip washed, dry sage leafs (one at a time) in chopsticks or tongs and hold the leaf immersed in the simmering oil for 3-5 seconds – remove to paper towel to drain excess oil (leaves should be crisp and almost appear crystalized
Pour soup ~1/3 the height of a clear shot glass, top with a layer of lump crab meat, pour more soup on top, and top with a final small stack of lump crab meat
Top the crab meat with your favorite Plaza black caviar (here, Plaza Classic, White Sturgeon Roe)
Gently garnish with fried sage leaf as pictured
#5 Potato Leek Soup
1 lb leeks (4-5 medium) cleaned and most dark green sections removed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
2 lbs of Organic Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
6 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 cup heavy cream
Cracked black pepper
Caviar or Roe (here: Plaza Trout Roe)
Clean leeks – cut in slices then separate with your fingers into a large bowl of cool water. Leeks – trap dirt and sand in their layers, and you need to make sure you scrub and soak off all of this grit so it does not end up in your soup!)
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter
Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes
Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the potatoes and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with a hand immersion blender until smooth
Stir in the heavy cream, 2 tbl of butter and cracked black pepper pepper
Taste and adjust seasoning if desired
Spoon into your desired serving cup, bowl or glass
Dollop or make a thin line os sour cream on the soup
Spoon caviar over the line or on the dollop of cream
Sprinkle with chives or your preferred garnish
Serve immediately, (or chill and serve cold – If you chill the soup – wait to garnish with sour cream and caviar until you are ready to serve).
#6 Summer Squash Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds mixed summer squash (crookneck, patty pan squash, etc) roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Crème Fraiche/Sour Cream/Yogurt
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot, add chopped onion.
Sautee for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add smashed garlic and sauté when you have 2 minutes left on the onions
Then add stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and partially cover and cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and use a hand blender to make a thick yet smooth soup
Add back to heat and stir in the butter
Blend further if necessary, removing any pieces of squash you may have missed
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve into small vessels, or bowl, and top with your preferred creamy topping
Finally, add your caviar as a finishing touch
Garnish with herbs or chives/dill or other herb as you like.
Will update with more images soon and info before Xmas!
This caviar loving kiddo was too cute to not include in the blog 🙂