This is a deliciously light, yet incredibly flavorful soup. It is also quite versatile. It would make a lovely first course for an elegant dinner or pair nicely with a salad for a quick and easy dinner.
This may be just the perfect soup to make when you feel a cold coming on – red peppers are full of vitamin C.
- 4 large red bell peppers (2 1/4 pounds), stems removed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ tsp grated orange zest
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 sea scallops
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Put the peppers on a cookie sheet, stemmed side down, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the skins are black. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins, cores and seeds. Finely dice 2 of the peppers.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, cumin and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the whole roasted peppers and the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the orange juice and orange zest.
- In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper; keep hot.
- In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook over high heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the scallops and cook on the second side for 1 minute. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the scallops and diced peppers and serve.