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1999 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken


Wine suggestion
A light, floral Alsatian Muscat:
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Muscat Grand Cru Goldert, 1997

Yield: 6 servings (8 cups)

Soup Purée

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 scotch bonnet, stemmed and seeded, diced small
  • 2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and diced small
  • 2 small inner stalks celery, cleaned and diced small
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves, broken
  • 2/3 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup light chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt

Grilled Christophine

  • 2 christophine, peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toss the christophine slices in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Raw Vegetables Garnish

  • 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 European cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 scallions, white and green, root discarded and chopped small

To make the purée, heat a large soup pot on medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Allow to foam slightly. Now add the scotch bonnet and garlic and stir 15 seconds. Add the leeks, celery, shallots, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Allow the vegetable mixture to cook on medium-low heat until slightly translucent.

When the vegetables have just begun to soften, add the orange juice and allow it to reduce by half on medium high heat, about 7 minutes. Now add the chicken stock and reduce until only about 1/2 cup remains, about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour in the cream. Transfer this mix to a blender and purée. Strain into a large bowl through a medium fine meshed strainer and chill by putting another bowl underneath it with icy water.

Compass: For a smaller portion you can simply cut the torta recipe in half and make two stacks instead of four. Then when you go to plate the dish, cut the two stacks in half and then in half again (cutting through the top). Arrange the two quarters of torta in the center of the plate and place the shrimp around that.

To prepare the christophine, heat a grill or grill pan and cook the slices of seasoned christophine until lightly charred. Place the cooked christophine into a bowl and let them cool gradually. They will soften a bit further. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them into a short match-stick pieces and reserve.

Peel the cucumber and cut it into long quarters lengthwise. Put the cucumbers into a colander and sprinkle them with coarse salt and allow to stand at least 30 minutes. (This pulls the excess water out of the cucs.) Rinse them well, but quickly, with cold water and pat them dry. Now slice them into thin slices and reserve.

When the purée is cool add the buttermilk to it and the cooked christophine with the scallions, cucumbers and thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill covered.


  • 6 jalapeños, roasted, peeled (now slit one side from stem on down and remove the seeds), but stem left intact
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Put the goat cheese in a bowl and add the heavy cream. Allow cheese to soften. Now mix them together and spoon the cheese mixture into a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a tiny corner cut out of it. Squeeze the mixture into the cavities of each jalapeño. Reform the jalapeño to be close to its original shape. Put onto a plate and chill until ready to serve.

To serve, put the chilled soup into a chilled bowl. Place a rellenito in the center of each one.

Compass: Any leftover of the goat cheese/cream mixture can be drizzled out over the jalapeño as a nice garnish when serving. The dish can be further garnished with snipped chives, celery leaves and cracked black pepper if desired. If the soup gets a touch too thick just stir in some half and half or plain yogurt. The soup is also good without the rellenito for a simpler preparation.