Celeriac is one of my favorite vegetables. A smooth, nutty flavor – it is filling and satisfying like a potato, but with less than half the calories and a fraction of the carbohydrates.
I usually associate it with winter – roasted in a tray with carrots and parsnips, or boiled in milk and blended into a puree. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t grow in the summer – but its flavor is so often paired with winter vegetables than with the tomatoes and eggplants of summer.
Brainstorming between the market stalls at the Marché Aligre, I decided the newly harvested celeriac would go well with radishes – still available in abundance and on sale at €2 for 2 bundles.
This summer I have experimented with adding radish and turnip greens to soups and serving them cold. First try, too stringy – I learned that you must cut the stems off and only use the leafy green part. Then, too bland – needed more salt, and a bouillon cube. The third time was the charm, with homemade chicken broth and plenty of coarse grey sea salt from Noirmoutier.
The greens need to be very thoroughly washed – I find three water baths in the salad spinner to be the bare minimum. Dirt particles and small stones stick easily to the thick leaves, which have an almost fur-like surface. I also find that the soup needs to be made the same day I purchase the radishes – otherwise, the leaves go limp and yellow in the fridge.
La Soupe Trompe-Saison
35 grams (2 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
½ bundle or 130 grams (4.5 oz) radishes (red or white/pink)
700 grams (1.5 lbs) celeriac, skin cut off
300 grams (10.5 oz) potatoes (two medium)
1 bay leaf
500cl (2 cups) chicken stock (homemade is best!)
greens from one bundle of radishes (well-washed)
coarse grey sea salt
thinly sliced radishes
- Wash the radishes and cut them in halves or quarters, roughly
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat
- Soften the radishes in the butter for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using red radishes, the color will fade while they cook
- Chop the celeriac into rough cubes and add to the pot. Let it sweat and soften with the radishes, 5-8 minutes
- Once the celeriac and radishes are soft, add the potato, peeled and cut into rough cubes. Let it warm up in the pot, then cover with the chicken stock and add the bay leaf
- Add salt to your liking: my eyeball says about 1-2 teaspoons
- Cover the pot and let it come to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, and let cook about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft
- Remove the bay leaf and add the washed radish greens, cooking for about 3 minutes more
- Mix the soup with a hand blender off the heat. Serve hot with just salt and pepper, or cooled the next day with a dollop of crème fraîche, thinly sliced radishes, and salt and pepper.
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