Butternut Squash Soup with Toma Frico with Nuts and Seeds
Source: Jennifer Luttrell and Jill Giacomini Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on November 15, 2014.
2 cups shredded Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company Toma
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, with or without skin
3 tablespoons seeds (sesame, hemp, chia and poppy are good options)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 butternut squash (approximately 3 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into ½-inch chunks
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1. To make the toma frico, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Spoon level tablespoon-size mounds, about 3 inches apart, on baking sheet. Pat mounds into round circles of even thickness with your fingers. (You want them somewhat thin and lacy.)
3. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbles have turned golden. The frico should be lacy and golden in color. Remove from oven and cool completely on baking sheet. Remove the frico with a spatula. Cooled frico can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
4. To make the soup, in a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt, cooking the onion until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash and broth. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the squash is tender.
5. Puree the soup with immersion blender or in a standing blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
Alternate stovetop cooking method for toma frico: Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sprinkle one tablespoon of cheese mixture into skillet, making a think circle, about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat with more cheese, leaving an inch between rounds. Cook until cheese becomes golden brown and begins to crisp, about 60 seconds. Turn off heat add leave the frico in the pan for an additional 30 to 60 seconds to completely set. Carefully remove with a heatproof spatula and place on a wire rack to cool. (If the frico are still soft at this point, return to the pan and cook for a few seconds longer.)
Photo by Jennifer Kregear.