In the month of October, it seems like French Fridays with Dorie's mission is to search out the ugliest ingredients possible and force us to figure out how to make these ugly monstrosities pretty enough to eat. I will be so glad when we get to dessert week...
First up, celery-celery soup.
After an unsuccessful ingredient search for last week's star ingredient, I finally decided to start revisiting all the stores that I struck out at to see if my luck would change.
It did. I finally found this little ugly restocked in the "roots" section. (I also found a lone bag of Jerusalem artichokes, which I grabbed up to make the future Jerusalem artichoke soup recipe - I knew that if I expected to find them on the shelf when the recipe came up, I would totally be doomed...)
Sticking along my recent theme of keeping things simple, I changed up the procedure "just a wee bit"... Instead of sauteing the vegetables and cooking the soup, I threw all the vegetables (celery root, celery and onion) onto a baking sheet and threw them into a hot (400F) oven for about a half hour or so so they could soften and caramelize.
Once the vegetables were done, I threw them, some salt & aleppo pepper and a quart of chicken stock into the Vitamix and blended it all until smooth. When it was time for dinner, I reheated the mixture gently on the stove.
For garnishes, I used creme fraiche and some shredded celery root that I had tossed in sugar and dried out in a low oven (a treatment that I picked up in the carrot cake recipe from one of the Macrina Bakery cookbooks).
It wasn't pretty, but even my soup hater thought that this one came out pretty tasty.
The next up on the ugly parade is monkfish and double carrots.
Now, I was pretty convinced that there was no way in Metropolis that I was going to find the main ingredient in this recipe. If I couldn't find celery root, it didn't seem realistic that monk fish was going to magically appear.
The benefit of having low expectations is that sometimes your expectations are exceeded. A trip to our "local" (and by local, I mean 40 minutes away) fishmonger yielded a display case with exactly one piece sad-looking piece of monk sitting behind it.
The fishmonger seemed kind of excited that we were passing over the deep coral wedges of sockeye salmon and made sure we knew everything we needed to know about monk and then went into the back and brought out two much more appealing sections of fish. Apparently, we had to prove our worthiness before we could have the "good stuff".
Preparation of the monk-carrot dish was pretty simple. Since I had about three pounds of carrots hanging in the freezer, I decided to juice my own. The carrot juice was simmered down with some butter to form the broth/ sauce for the dish. Instead of cooking the carrots stove top, they received the oven roasting treatment (because, you know, that whole not being able to follow direction thing...).
The monk was sauteed in the bacon fat and then everything was plated together.
It was tasty enough, but I think I could have done without the carrot juice. I was feeling a little bit too Bugs Bunny with all that carotene floating around.
Have a lovely weekend all.
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe for celery-celery soup can be found here.