- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced blanched almonds (6 ounces)
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 large pinch of saffron threads
- 4 yellow bell peppers, chopped
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 quart vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
- Sour cream and chopped parsley, for garnish
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and sprinkle with salt.
- Wipe out the saucepan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the red onions and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crushed red pepper and saffron and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the yellow peppers, carrots and vegetable stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are softened, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme.
- Transfer 1 cup of the toasted almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add 1 cup of the cooking broth and puree. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the food processor and puree until smooth, adding 1/2 cup of the broth. Stir the puree into the remaining broth in the saucepan and season with salt. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted almonds, garnish with dollops of sour cream and the parsley and serve.
The soup can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated. Rewarm before serving.