Yukon Gold potatoes, with their warm, buttery yellow hue, are the perfect background for a showy (and, I think, necessary) topping of crumbled eggs, black olive caviar, and fresh chives.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks (about 3 c.)
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, or to taste
4 ounces pitted black olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
To complete the recipe
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely crumbled
Sour cream or créme fraiche, finely chopped fresh chives, and coarsely ground pepper for garnish
To make the soup: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the vegetable stock, potatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the caviar: Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
In several batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. (Take care not to overprocess.)
Return the soup to the pan and stir occasionally over medium heat until serving temperature. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Garnish each serving with about 2 tablespoons egg, a dollop of sour cream, a small mound of caviar and a sprinkling of chives and pepper.
Refrigerate this soup and the caviar in separate covered containers for up to 3 days. When reheating the soup, stir in vegetable stock to thin as desired.
The common black olive or Mission olive is a ripe green olive that often obtains its characteristic color and flavor from lye curing and oxygenation. Olives that are tree ripened turn dark brown or black naturally. The majority of these olives are used for oil but the rest are brine- or salt-cured and are usually packed in olive oil or a vinegar solution. The Greek Kalamata and the French Nicoise are two of the more popular imported ripe olives.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.