Celery root soup with crispy sage
I love to celebrate my birthday and boy did I go for it this year. In these last weeks of January, the month where people usually try to make up for the supposed sins of the holiday season, my pals and I were chowing down at Minetta Tavern, ABC Cochina, Le Bernadin, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Hanjan, Locanda Verde, Il Buco Alimentari, Benu, Zuni Cafe and Cotogna to name a few. And, because many of these were birthday celebrations, dessert showed up way more than once. I tried my best to keep up with this excessive influx of deliciousness with regular workouts, but there’s only so much that SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp can do! So here I find myself, ready to get back to my healthy baseline, but craving the richness that comes with that much eating out. With lunchtime rapidly approaching, I really wanted something satisfying and delicious that wasn’t a total calorie bomb. That’s why I decided to make this soup. It’s creamy and flavorful, without any dairy. There are a few vegetables that lend themselves to this sort of a cream free, yet, creamy soup preparation: cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips and celery root to name a few. I decided to go for the celery root after seeing a stack of the “so ugly they’re cute” roots over at Bi-Rite. I love the flavor of celery but I especially love the mild version that you get with celery root. And, once it’s tender, you can blend it into a lovely, smooth and creamy puree that you would never get with celery stalks. For added flavor I sprinkled some freshly minced sage to simmer with the celery root and onions, along with crispy sage, nutmeg and olive oil as garnish. It has a bit of a thanksgiving stuffing flavor thing going on that I still find perfectly acceptable this time of year. Finally, I added a dash of coconut milk to give it a little more body and some meyer lemon juice to brighten it up just a bit.
A big thank you to my hubby and my sweet friends for all of their love and for spoiling me completely rotten for the big 3-9!
Celery root soup with crispy sage recipe
2 pounds celery root
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced, fresh sage, plus some whole leaves
1/4 cup organic coconut milk
2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
fresh grated nutmeg
Using a knife or peeler, remove all skin, fuzz and dirt from the celery root, cut it into a large dice and set aside. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and once it’s hot, add the sliced yellow onion and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occassionally, until the onions become translucent but not browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the diced celery root, minced sage 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and enough water to cover the ingredients – about 4 to 5 cups. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low, covered, until the celery root is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add enough olive oil to a small skillet to submerge the sage leaves. Over medium-high heat, bring the olive oil to a temperature that’s hot enough that water will sizzle when sprinkled on the oil. With a slotted spoon and a plate with some paper towels handy, fry the sage leaves in small batches until crisp and translucent – it should only take several seconds or a little more. Set aside on the paper towels to drain off the oil.
Once the celery root is tender, strain the solids from the hot liquid and reserve both. Working in batches, add some the solids and some of the cooking liquid to a high powered blender. Carefully blend the hot ingredients by starting on a low speed and gradually working up to a higher speed, adding more cooking liquid as needed to get it to your preferred consistency.
Return the blended ingredients to a clean pot and add the coconut milk, meyer lemon juice, any additional water that may be required to achieve your preferred consistency and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Gently bring up to desired temperature and serve garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated nutmeg and a crispy sage leaf or two.