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This recipe for red pepper soup accompanied by salty anchovy crostini makes a delightfully colourful, simple first course
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 red bell peppers, chopped into 1in cubes
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 7 ounces chopped tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 12 anchovy fillets, drained
- 3 ounces butter, softened
- 1 lemon, juice of
- 8 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- creme fraiche, to serve
- basil leaves, to garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Fry the red pepper, onion and garlic in the pan for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, smoked paprika, sugar and stock. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Blend the soup with a hand blender or in a jug blender until smooth. Cool, cover and chill.
- Meanwhile, make the anchovy butter for the crostini. In a pestle and mortar pound the anchovy fillets into a paste. Mix in the butter and lemon juice, blending thoroughly. Season with freshly ground pepper and mix in the parsley. Cover and chill until use.
- Just before serving prepare the crostini. Drizzle each slice of sourdough bread with half a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Grill the bread until lightly toasted. Spread each slice generously with the anchovy butter.
- Ladle the soup into 4 serving bowls. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and a few basil leaves. Serve with the anchovy crostini on the side.