- Course: Cold Appetizer
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 7 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
The vibrant hue and intense flavor of this soup will have everyone begging for the recipe.
1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add garlic, peppers, basil, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3. Add stock; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor, purée mixture in batches. Pour into a large bowl. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (at least 3 hours).
4. When ready to serve, stir in half-and-half and vinegar. Adjust seasoning to taste. Ladle into soup bowls. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and a little chopped basil to each serving.
To make this easy soup even easier, char-grill the peppers the day before. Simply preheat a lightly greased grill and plunk the whole peppers, intact, onto it. As they char, turn peppers constantly to ensure an even grilling. Remove to a baking sheet to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, before they cool completely, place in a paper bag to steam for a few minutes. Afterwards, their blackened skins will slip off effortlessly. Cut open peppers and remove the seeds and stems. Keep peppers in a plastic container.
Often you will find that a reliable cheesemonger sells crème fraîche, or at least an approximation of this French concoction. If you can’t find it, use this method to make a very good substitute: Warm 1 cup (250 mL) (35%) whipping cream gently.
Remove from heat and combine with 2 tbsp (25 mL) buttermilk or sour cream in a glass bowl. Mix well, cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Give the mixture a good stir once it has thickened, then cover and refrigerate. It will thicken even more once chilled and keeps well for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.