Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Potato-Leek Soup with Poached Egg and Salmon

It was a cold, drizzly spring day and I was in the town of Bath, England where I had toured and trudged up and down hilly streets for two hours by myself because my tour bus was not a group thing. We had visited Stonehenge earlier and by now, it was late afternoon and I had a terrific, lack-of-food headache. There was only an hour left before I was to be at the bus departure spot, but none of the restaurants I had passed had appealed to me – some were overpriced, others pushed out ugly fast food fare or heavy, pasta filled meals. Not great choices for a gluten-free eater.
My arms and back ached from carrying a too-heavy bag and camera and I was cold and miserable. I was about to give up  on the food idea when I found myself in front of The Blue Quails Deli. I went inside and looked at the limited choices which were written on a chalkboard. With a  rather sour attitude, I expressed my doubts that anything on the menu would be gluten-free. The proprietor, who was also the chef, humored me. He said he had just the meal for me - a potato-leek soup. In fact, he said he also had gluten-free rolls to go with it. I skeptically placed my order and sat down at a little table next to a friendly English couple who raved about The Blue Quail's food.
With my purse and camera no longer weighing me down, I relaxed and even smiled as the waiter brought my food. It looked surprisingly lovely with little greens floating on top. The first sip was heavenly and wonderful and then I discovered the egg and the salmon - hidden treasures - in my bowl! I could not believe what I was tasting! This beyond great soup dissolved my sorry state of mind, flushed away my headache and bad attitude and I found I was suddenly very happy.
On the bus ride home I knew I would recreate this beautiful soup in my own home…it is one I will never forget!

Potato Leek Soup with Poached Egg and Salmon 


½ Red bell pepper
3 T butter
3 C diced leeks
2-3 large russet potatoes
6 C broth (chicken or vegetable)
Arugula (optional)
Salt, pepper

Preheat broiler. Place red pepper, cut side down under broiler. Roast carefully until evenly blackened. Remove pepper half to a small bowl and cover for 10 minutes. This will allow the steam to help loosen the skin. Scrape away all of the skin with a knife. Coarsely chop flesh.

Bake potatoes in the microwave using a microwave cloth bag. 4-5 minutes per potato, or until almost soft. Coarsely grate flesh; discard skin.

In a large pot melt butter. Add roasted red pepper pieces and diced leeks. Stir to coat well. Reduce heat, cover pot, cook until leeks are tender and slightly translucent, 6-7 minutes.

Add grated  potatoes and broth. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove ¾ of the vegetable solids to a blender or Vita Mix. Process until smooth. Add thick mixture back to liquids in pot. Mix well. Add more broth if necessary. Season to taste.

Egg: in a small pan of water, poach one egg per serving. The eggs should be cooked long enough so they are NOT runny.

Salmon: Thaw salmon portions (1/2 per person); pat dry. Braise in butter and season with a pepper blend until fish pieces are flaky.

Assemble: Ladle soup into large bowls. Carefully slip one egg and a piece of salmon into each bowl of soup. Garnish with sprigs of arugula. Serve.





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