Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Parsnip soup with fiddleheads

Boston is turning into Seattle, except that our coffee still sucks and sushi could definitely be better. A week of non-stop rain is really getting to us here, which made me reach for the secret weapon to cure the wetness blues – soup. After going through my mental list of “soups to try” I settled on creamy parsnip soup. I had such a wonderful version at a local café for lunch recently, that I was inspired to try it at home. The process of making it is not much different from turnip soup, celery root soup, or any other creamy root vegetable soup. The trick is to cook parsnips long enough to make them very tender, this ensures that the resulting soup will be smooth and creamy.

To remind us that it’s not the middle of October, I topped the soup with sautéed fiddleheads, for a spring touch.

Serves 4

For the soup:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/3 Lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
5 cups water
1 carrot, peeled and left whole
Bay leaf
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper

For fiddleheads:
1/2 Lb fiddleheads
1 Tbsp butter
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

To make the soup:
  1. Set a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil, onions, and celery. Cook stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add butter and parsnips. Turn up the heat to high and cook until parsnips just start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add water, carrot, salt to taste, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Partially cover, and simmer on med-low for 1 hour or until parsnips are very tender.
  4. Stir in cream. Take the soup off heat, uncover, and cool 10 minutes. Remove carrot and bay leaf.
  5. Process in a blender until smooth. If soup is too thick, add water to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To make fiddleheads:
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Snap the ends off fiddleheads and wash them in a bowl of cold water, rubbing them gently to remove loose leaves. Remove fiddleheads with a slotted spoon.
  3. Put fiddleheads into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes and drain.
  4. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter. When butter melts, add garlic and fiddleheads and cook stirring occasionally until fiddleheads are browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Take off heat.
  5. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour soup into bowl. Top with fiddleheads and drizzle with olive oil.


Alanna Kellogg said...

Agreed! I've made three pots of "spring-summer" transition soups in the last week! Lovely addition, the fiddleheads ...

Anonymous said...

Fiddleheads, one of the surest signs of spring here in Alaska - and sadly not even out yet. Spring soup sounds delightful. Soon....

Anonymous said...

I happen to really find parsnips terrific and it's hard to find lots of recipes for them. This looks glorious!

Boston Chef said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Boston Chef said...

Hey we're doing fiddleheads now that it's spring in New England, too! Link

That soup looks delicious!

Dianka said...

Love the addition of fiddleheads, great idea! It's so dark and gloomy here in CA too, what is going on!!