I was recently contacted by a fabulous local company, Island Trollers, and asked if I would like to come up with a recipe and feature their product on my blog. And my brain was like, "Holy crap! Someone wants me to use MY blog to feature their amazing product!" And my mouth (okay, my fingers, because it was on facebook) was like, "Yes, YES! That would be awesome!"
And I felt like I was really getting SOMEWHERE with this whole blogging thing. I was a rock star!
There may have been wine involved.
And then my brain started to nudge me with something. A niggling piece of information I had overlooked in my euphoria. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: I can't believe it! This is going to be so awesome!
Brain: Island Trollers.
Me: I KNOW, right???
Brain: What do they troll for?
Brain: So... tuna.
Me: Yes, of course!!!
Brain: Tuna. Soup.
I LOVE tuna.... but if I'm being honest, I'm strictly a tuna sandwich kind of gal. I like my tuna salad made a very specific way and the most adventurous I get about it is maybe, maybe, mixing up the bread I eat it on. On top of that, I have never, not once in my whole life, eaten nor made tuna casserole. (And have no plans to do so - so please don't send me your grandma's recipe.) So the idea of tuna - in a soup - threw me for a loop.
BUT. If you dare to title your blog Soup-a-Woman, you can't let tuna be your kryptonite. What with leaping over tall soup pots in a single bound and that sort of thing...
So I set out to create something delicious.The first and most obvious choice was a chowder. Seafood and chowder love each other. But when I did a little research I found that not only was there already a tuna chowder in the blogging world, it actually featured Island Trollers! The blog Life Currents actually features several recipes highlighting Island Trollers products, including a chowder.
Once the tuna arrived, however, I realized I didn't have much to worry about. Island Trollers has the most amazing troll-caught albacore, and even better, it's fresh canned in several flavors: Alder Smoked, Garlic, Habañero, Capers, Jalapeño. I decided to use those flavors to my advantage and elevate this soup to a whole new level.
Eventually I settled on a fire-roasted bell pepper soup that would feature their Jalapeño Albacore and started building a recipe from there. The end result is fresh, healthy, and lovely. It turned out not only to be delicious, but a beautiful and surprisingly elegant soup that is company-worthy. Throwdown win.
Kryptonite? As if.
But I'm still not going to eat tuna casserole.
Fire-Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup with Jalepeño Tuna and Cilantro Cream
4 yellow bell peppers, seeded, roasted, peeled and roughly chopped (directions below)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 c. diced red onion (1 medium onion)
1/2 t. salt
1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. paprika
1 14-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth (this makes a thin soup, if you want it thicker, reduce broth to 3 or 3 1/2 cups)
1-2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can Island Trollers Jalapeño Tuna, drained (or Habañero if you want even a little more kick)
Cilantro Cream (recipe follows)
Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced red onion and the salt and sautee, stirring occassionally until onions are tender, around 8-10 minutes.
Stir in garlic, pepper, cumin, and paprika and stir to coat all the onions. Add the tomatoes and the roasted peppers and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, and let simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) puree until the soup is very smooth. Stir in lime juice and taste for seasoning.
1/2 c. packed cilantro leaves
1/2 medium jalepeño, seeded and roughly chopped
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 c. sour cream
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside until ready for garnish. (Tip: Putting the cilantro cream in an empty squeeze bottle makes it easier to make the swirls.)
To assemble soup: Using a shallow bowl, mound a portion of flaked tuna in the center of the bowl. Carefully ladle some of the soup around the tuna, and garnish with cilantro cream.
I find it much easier to clean and roast the peppers if you prepare them this way: Cut each pepper in half, remove the seeds and the white pithy membranes inside each half and carefully cut out the stems. Place the halves, skin side up on a broiler pan or cookie sheet and broil on high about 3" away from the heating element. Rotate the pan around as necessary to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven when skins are charred and puffed up in sections, but the flesh is still firm... around 10 minutes or so. Transfer peppers immediately to a gallon-sized zip-lock bag and seal it shut. Let pepper sit 10-15 minutes in the bag. This will steam them and allow the skins to come off more easily. Remove skins from peppers - do NOT rinse them... you'll just wash all the flavor away.