Recipe: Amelia Saltsman’s Parsnip Soup

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parsnipsAmelia Saltsman is the author of The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook and a frequent guest on Good Food. This week, she’s on the Market Report with farmer Alex Weiser, talking about parsnips.  Here recipe for parsnip soup follows…

Smooth-as-Silk Parsnip Soup

Parsnips are sweet, sharp, citrus-y, and pleasantly starchy—in other words, inherently complex—which means if you’ve got an onion and some parsnips on hand, you’re well on the way to a very interesting soup. This simple soup is the color and silky texture of rich cream.

3 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 lbs parsnips
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
8 cups vegetable stock
Juice of half a lemon
Walnut or pistachio oil, optional
Fleur de sel or other coarse sea salt for finishing

In a wide pot over medium-low heat, gently cook the onion until translucent and softened, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and cut the parsnips crosswise into 1/2-inch coins (you should have about 8 cups). Stir the parsnips into the onions and season with salt and white pepper. Cover and cook until partially tender, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the stock, replace cover, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to keep soup at a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Add 4 cups more stock and continue simmering until the parsnips are very tender, about 15 minutes more.

Puree the soup with a standing or immersion blender. To remove all the fibers and get a silky puree, rub the soup through a fine-mesh sieve (a chinois or tamis) into a clean pot. You’ll have about 5 cups thick puree. Reheat the soup, thinning with remaining stock to the consistency of heavy cream. Add a couple of squeezes of lemon—the soup shouldn’t taste lemony, but the flavors should come alive. Serve with a swirl of walnut or pistachio oil if desired and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Soup may be made up to a day ahead and reheated. Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007).