Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Root Loot

Ever had celery root? Celeriac (celery root) tastes like celery (and parsley, actually), is textured like squash (kind of), is not too pretty, however, it really shines in this soup because it pairs so well with potatoes and leeks. Give this gnarly root a try. Please don't discriminate against uncute veg. Try them all! This is a smooth and delicious soup and it's also really good for you.
There's no cream and just a small amount of butter and olive oil. If you don't already have an immersion blender, I'd recommend buying one, really. In the old days (b.i.) (before immersion), I splattered my white wooden window blinds with a lovely shade of green (really pretty abstract kitchen art ala Jackson Pollack) with split pea soup that exploded out of my blender. It was everywhere. I really HATE, I mean, dislike, blending soup in batches, in the regular blender --- P.I.T.A. The immersion blender will have you making creamy, healthy soups all the time . . . with no cream! Here's a picture of mine. You don't have to spend a lot. I think they range from $30 to over $100, but you don't really need a big mamma jamma. Mine is a 200 watt Braun.

This recipe is very similar to the potato soup that I make with arugula, except that I blended it because I thought the texture would be more pleasing (and it was!). Try it! I'm having it for lunch today with some nice fresh whole grain French bread and a green and creamy avocado salad. It's really not a recipe. It's more of a method, I guess. Season to taste and do as the French do . . . eat your celeriac! They love this vegetable! Note: Thanks to places like Pete's Fresh Market (there's a new one in Calumet City on Sibley Boulevard, just east of I-94), you can buy all of the wonderful vegetables you like where they are fresh, bright and impeccably arranged for your produce shopping pleasure. Thank you Pete! So glad you're in the neighborhood.

Creamy Celeriac, Potato & Leek Soup
Ingredients
about 2 tablespoons of butter & 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts, trimmed, rinsed, cut vertically & thinly sliced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large celery root (celeriac), peeled and cubed
about 6 cups of chicken broth (48 oz.) or a combination of chicken broth & vegetable broth
(I recommend: Swanson's 100% Fat Free)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Here's how to cut the celeriac: Cut off each stem end with a sharp chef's knife. Then, quarter, and slice off the spongy core (if any). Cut each quarter in half lengthwise and peel by cutting the skin off of each wedge with a sharp paring knife. Cut into cubes.


Melt the butter and oil in a pot.
Add the sliced leeks. (Make sure you rinse them well to rid them of any sandy soil after you cut them vertically. Then, pat them dry and slice them into thin half moons. If you've never cooked with leeks, you'll always cook with them now.
Cook for a short while until they begin to wilt a bit.
Add the cubed potatoes & celery root.
Cook a little and add some salt and pepper.
Add the broth.

Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Check for seasoning and let cool a little.
Blend a little or blend a lot, depending on your preference for creaminess/chunkiness. Check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve.

KPK Reference Tidbit: If you'd like to expand your vegetable knowledge and bring more from the ground into your life, pick up the fabulous book, VEGETABLES From Amaranth to Zucchini, The
Essential Reference, by Elizabeth Schneider. She describes celeriac as an "earthy prize - a pitted and whorled planet with snaggly rootlets, imbued with herbaceous pungency." How can you NOT love that? It's a coveted encyclopedia which is continually referenced in Katie's Passion Kitchen.

Enjoy your soup and stay tuned for more comforting and wintery meal ideas. Thank you for stopping by Katie's Passion Kitchen.

Winter warmth,

Katie

2 comments:

  1. I adore leeks, but I save myself the trouble of patting them dry after washing. My method is to trim and chop them while still dirty -- I make sure they are the last things to touch the cutting board -- and then jumble and rinse the little pieces in a fine mesh strainer. Drip dry. Done. BTW, thanks for the tip about the immersion blender. I'll go shopping.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Nancy, I just realized that although I love the little half moons which you can achieve by keeping the leek layers intact, they will eventually be obliterated by the blender, so who cares? LOL. Thanks for your tip!

    ReplyDelete

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