Scallop Cream Soup
This really is one of the most luxurious and delicate soups imaginable.
It is very easy to prepare and cook, but perfect for a special occasion. Crisp, golden croutons are lovely sprinkled over the top of a bowl of hot or chilled soup. You can make croutons a day ahead, and store them in an airtight container once they have cooled.
This recipe is from The Delia Collection: Soup. Serves 4-6
First, melt the butter in a fairly large saucepan, add the onion and cook it very gently without colouring it at all, about 10 minutes.
Next, add the diced potatoes, mix them in with the butter and onions and season with salt and pepper. Then, keeping the heat very low, put the lid on the pan and leave the mixture to sweat for another 10-15 minutes. After that pour in the hot fish stock, give it a good stir, cover the pan again and leave to simmer gently for a further 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the scallops: wash and dry them thoroughly and cut off the coral-coloured bits of roe (if using) – chop these and keep them on one side on a separate plate. The white parts should be diced roughly, put in a saucepan with the cold milk and a little salt and pepper, then poached very gently for 3-4 minutes or until opaque. When the vegetables are cooked, transfer them and their cooking liquid to a blender and whiz to a purée.
Now combine the white parts of the scallops (and the milk they were cooked in) with the potato purée. At this point any pieces of coral roe (if using) can be added and the soup gently re-heated. Finally, beat the egg yolks thoroughly with the cream, remove the soup pan from the heat, stir in the egg and cream mixture and return the pan to a gentle heat.
Cook, stirring, until the soup thickens slightly – but be very careful not to let it come anywhere near the boil or it will curdle. This final stage should only be done at the last minute, just before serving, so if you want to make this soup in advance, prepare it up to the egg yolk and cream stage.
To make the croutons, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Place the cubes of bread in a bowl, together with the oil, and stir them around so that they get an even coating. Then arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake them on a high shelf in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are crisp and golden.
One word of warning: do use a kitchen timer for this operation because it's actually very hard to bake something for just 10 minutes without forgetting all about it. Then cool on the baking sheet and store in an airtight container.
To serve the soup, ladle it into warm soup bowls and garnish with croutons and some chopped fresh parsley.