Celeriac Soup with Celeriac Crisps and Parsley Oil
THE change of seasons means a change of appetite. Warming autumnal dishes are in order and top of the list comes seasonal soups and root vegetables. Celeriac is the unsung hero of root vegetables. It is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots. When it comes to celeriac, it is all about inner beauty.
From the outside, it appears as an ugly, uninteresting, knobbly mass but it really is a case of not judging a book by its cover. The flesh beneath this rough exterior is fresh and crunchy when raw or silky smooth when cooked. This smooth texture along with its gentle flavour notes of celery, parsley and even a slight nuttiness lends celeriac perfectly to a light, delicate soup.
The key to prepping celeriac is to cut off the skin quite thickly to remove any brown parts and the root channels. You should be just left with the pale flesh in the centre.
Celeriac is hailed as a great substitute for potato, not just for its alternative flavour but also due to the fact that it is low in starch and high in potassium and fibre. With both health and flavour benefits, it is time to get more excited about this root.
My celeriac soup recipe benefits from preparing this versatile ingredient in two very different ways.
The celeriac in the soup is simmered and then blended while the crisps are thinly sliced and fried to add both texture and colour to the dish. The parsley oil drizzled over the soup adds a splash of vibrancy and complements the mild parsley notes of the celeriac. This dish can be prepared well in advance and heated through when it comes to serving, which makes it a perfect dinner party starter to impress your guests.
1 whole celeriac
1 clove of garlic
250ml full fat milk
250ml double cream
250ml good quality chicken stock
125g unsalted butter
Salt for seasoning
Oil for deep frying
Peel the celeriac and discard the peelings. Take a vegetable peeler and peel enough of the inside of the celeriac for the crisps (you need about six shavings per person). Cover these in boiling water and allow to cool completely.
Drain the shavings on a towel until completely dry. Deep fry the shavings until they crisp up and colour to a golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and season with a little salt.
Chop the remaining celeriac into medium dice. Finely dice the shallots and crush the garlic clove. In a heavy based pot gently melt the butter. Add the chopped celeriac, garlic, shallots and a pinch of salt. Gently cook for about 15 minutes or until soft.
Add the cream, milk and chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. In a food processor blend the mixture until silky smooth. Season as required.
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (picked and stalks removed)
250ml rapeseed oil
Blanch half of the parsley leaves in salted boiling water for 30 seconds.
Refresh in ice water until completely cold.
Squeeze out all of the excess water. Into a blender add the blanched parsley, raw parsley and rapeseed oil and blend until smooth
Pass through a fine sieve and reserve until required
To serve, pour the soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle over the celeriac crisps and drizzle with the parsley oil.