Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Spring Onion & Celery Soup with Smoked Trout

With its beautiful pale colour and subtle flavours, this soup is good on its own, but delightful topped with flakes of lightly smoked Franschhoek trout. Added cold, the trout half-poaches in the soup’s residual heat, contributing an intriguing smoky note. Straining this soup is laborious but well worth the effort to achieve a fine, smooth result.

My Spring Onion & Celery Soup with Smoked Trout. I snapped this while my book's photographer
Michael Le Grange was setting up the shot. Recipe courtesy of  Random House Struik.

Wine recommendation from Michael OliverHe says: "I really think you need a medium cream sherry
 with this soup. Douglas Green Medium Cream Traditional Flor No 2 - perfect for chilly weather."
Go to the end of the page for more detail about this pairing.

This is one of my favourite soup recipes, and it comes from my 2012 book Scrumptious Food For Family and Friends

Spring Onion & Celery Soup with Smoked Trout 

30 slim spring onions (about 3 bunches)
6 x 20-cm stalks young celery, taken from the heart of the bunch
4 Tbsp (60 ml/60 g) butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1.75 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup (250 ml) milk
3 medium potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp (10 ml) cornflour
200 ml fresh cream, plus a little extra
a pinch of white pepper, to taste
10 slices lightly smoked Franschhoek trout, or smoked salmon
olive oil
small sprigs of fresh dill

Trim the roots and dark green tops of the spring onions (you’ll use only the white and pale green parts) and slice. Trim and slice the celery stalks.

Chop the pale green leaves and set them to one side. Melt the butter in a soup pot, add the spring onions, sliced celery stalks and garlic and cover them with a circle of baking paper, or the wrapper from a block of butter. Cook over a low heat for 12–15 minutes, or until very soft. Remove the paper, add the stock, milk, potatoes and reserved celery leaves and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, skimming off any foam as it rises.

Blend the soup to a smooth purée and strain it through a fine sieve into the rinsed-out pot. Mix the cornflour and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of the cream to a smooth paste and add this to the soup, stirring constantly as it comes to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in the remaining cream. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Cut the smoked trout into pieces no bigger than the bowl of a soup spoon. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, swirl with a little olive oil and a drizzle of cream, and top each one with tiny sprigs of dill and a few pieces of trout. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Cook’s Notes: Make this up to 24 hours ahead, then heat and add the salmon and dill at the last moment. This is a thinnish soup, but it should not be watery. Add a little more cornflour paste if the consistency seems too thin.

Wine pairing by Michael Olivier

Douglas Green Medium Cream Traditional Flor No 2. Flor is the yeast under which the wine lives in the criadera [nursery] before going into the Solera for maturation.

It looks like: Elegant packaging, even rich gold straw colour.

It smells like: Layers of nuts, spice and baked biscuits.

It tastes like: Discreetly medium sweet.  Nutty with brown spices.  Rich raisiny grapes.  Full mouthfeel, long aftertaste.  Do serve it slightly chilled in a normal wine glass;  you will enjoy it so much more that way.

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yung@foodyoo.com said...

This looks so good. Probably serving it chilled might be really enjoyable during hot days. But maybe I will like it warm or hot as it is so rich and smooth. :)

plasterer bristol said...

This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.