1For the crispy shallots:
In a pan (I used the dutch oven I was going to use for the soup), heat oil over medium to medium-high heat. Chop and separate the sections of the shallots. Fry in the oil for about 3-4 minutes or until brown but not burnt. Be careful because this transition can happen quickly. Set aside and lightly salt.
2For the soup:
In the same dutch oven (make sure there are no bits of shallot left), add a bit more oil to set heat to medium. Add the chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, cayenne, and some salt and pepper. Saute for about 7 minutes. Then, add the stock and peas. Add enough water to ensure that all of the ingredients are covered.
3Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until all vegetables are very tender. Do not worry about over cooking the vegetables because they are going to be pureed. When vegetables are very soft, add the cream cheese and heat through until dissolved.
4Add the mint and stir for about 1 minute.
5Then, in a blender or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If desire, pass through a sieve for an extra smooth soup.
6Garnish with the crispy shallots, fresh cracked pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a mint sprig. Enjoy!
Finding the absolute best ingredients such a big part of Chef Antoine Westermann’s culinary career and the main drive behind all of his expertly crafted dishes. His relationship with farmers and purveyors are critical to his work as a chef. While visiting one of his providers in New York, the French chef describes his efforts to find the best local ingredients for his restaurant.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup is a comfort food classic, and this version couldn't be easier. Just place dried split peas in your slow cooker, top them with diced mirepoix (carrot, celery, and onion), plus some garlic, parsley, and bay leaf. Add a ham bone or ham hocks for a little smoky meatiness, and cover it all with chicken or vegetable stock, then turn on the crockpot and walk away. The result is creamy, hearty, and freezes well, so you can make a big batch to keep extra on hand for the next time you need a soothing soup, stat. Read more.
Our version of this curry, a favorite combination of vegetables in India, unites cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red-pepper flakes. Fresh cilantro provides an herbal note. Serve the curry as a generous side dish or with rice for a meatless main dish.
Classic Tomato Soup
This comforting tomato soup is super easy and super delicious. Canned San Marzano tomatoes marry with soft, sautéed onions and garlic, a pinch of red pepper, and chicken broth to create a soothing, savory bowl. Finished with a bit of cream, this is begging for a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. But really, it tastes great with lots of things, as well as on its own (though a basil and Parmesan garnish doesn't hurt). Read more.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper. Read more.