It really started with a casual walk by the river near our house. The walk I take every day when I am not too busy — and even when I am, I go anyway since I am a countryside girl after all — it must run in my genes. I particularly like to walk around there in late morning or early afternoon when there are not many people, but then there are never too many people all things considered. I was in serious need of a breath of fresh air and to feel the wintry golden sun warm up my skin. When I arrived at the park, I spotted three young girls, each wearing a blue sports jacket, sitting at the top of the largest tree domineering the entire field: I had forgotten it was school vacation. Were they sisters to be wearing the same color or victims of a school fashion? They were giggling — boys shout and girls giggle. For a second, I almost felt like asking them “eh, do you mind if I come?” as I imagined it must have felt free to sit higher. I laughed and stayed quiet, behaving like an adult while what I really wanted was to play. In fact, I remembered seeing two boys at the top of that same tree the day before. What was so popular with that particular tree? Was it the fact that it is so fat at the base with branches spreading low, hence pretty easy to climb?
Despite the glowing sun, it felt chilly and windy, but I did not mind. Feeling the crisp air awaken my senses made me feel alive. The last days had been filled with a lot of work, good work, but work all the same. I had prepared, styled and shot so many dishes that my head felt dizzy just thinking about it. There had been scallop and saffron risotto, spaghetti with green crunchy vegetables, savory and sweet tartlets of all sorts, muffins, fresh muesli, fruit syrups, berry crumble, granola, salads, fish and meat: a lot of food; a lot of mess made too. In fact, do you mind if I tell you something? Do you know what I really dislike about this? Perhaps you do too.
Cleaning and tidying.
But I decided to leave before cleaning and tidying. These tasks would wait, even if I knew that I was going to walk back to a messy house. The girl-who-likes-tidy-places-to-be-able-to-work, moi, did not mind for a change. Being outside felt more important and besides, the sun outside was too inviting.
I witnessed scenes that happen every day, but they somehow seemed as fresh as if I was seeing them for the first time: numerous ducks were huddled together in the semi-frozen pond, hoping to be fed by each passer-by; the iced path revealed a few greener patches of grass, the first signs of spring shyly appearing at the corner; a beautiful playful cardinal fluttered around my head, the same one which nests by the left bank of the river; dogs chased each other happily, with their owners busy chatting and catching up with the latest news, something they do at the same time every day; two younger boys played hockey on roller-blades with their worried mother following closely behind.
The park was busy with the details of life that I crave for, and it felt peaceful.
I walked briskly for a long hour without even noticing that I was hungry. When I finally stopped to look at my watch, I realized it was already 1:30 pm.
Time for lunch!
Despite the many more elaborate foods I had prepared, the only food I craved was a bowl of warm soup — another soup, I know!
“What is this vegetable called?” my mother-in-law asked when I told her I had made a sunchoke soup.
“They call them Jerusalem Artichokes too,” I replied on the phone. “You should try them. They really taste like artichoke, and are delicious. Super easy to prepare.”
Sunchokes are vegetables that I really discovered more this winter. I had always known them by their name, but it was really my friend Kit who picked my curiosity when she told me about a friend of hers running a local farm where they grown them. Unfortunately, I arrived too late in the season to witness the harvest. This year, I hope.
I use these roots sautéd or cooked in various types of gratins, mashes and soups — yes I know, I still owe you this hachis parmentier recipe, don’t I?
The idea of this soup recipe comes from one P. and I loved when we visited Copenhagen this January. We had found out about it in a small restaurant where we had lunch one day. They served theirs with large scallops in the middle: we were seduced by the idea. After our trip, I had promised that I would try to make a similar soup at home.
In mine, I used bay scallops from Nantucket Island, my favorites found locally. I also added a drizzle of truffle oil on top, giving a taste of earth and ocean mingled to the dish.
But I also enjoyed eating the soup more simply too, accompanied with blue potato chips and a touch of paprika.
And fleur de sel always sprinkled on top.
My lunch was then complete with a bowl of fresh organic strawberries, passion fruit syrup and plain yogurt. I decided to keep the chocolate caramel cream made earlier that day to share with P. for dinner — I am one of those crazy ones who strongly believe that chocolate treats always taste better when they are shared!
Sunchokes might be ugly to look at with their wrinkly skin and funny shapes, but there is deliciousness hidden inside. So let’s have a bowl of this sunchoke soup, shall we?
In case you wondered and since I often receive emails from you my dear readers inquiring about my food props, the little bowls are a treasure found from a French artist in Paris. Her name is Claire de Lavallée and she can be found in the 7th district in Paris, 11 rue de Saint Simon.
For the soup :
- 1 lb + 1 oz chunchokes, peeled and diced
- 1 large potato (3 oz), peeled and diced
- 2 celery branches, diced
- 1 small fennel bulb, diced
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 10 coriander seeds
- 1 rosemary twig
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups water (or homemade vegetable broth)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
- Parsley, chopped
- Fleur de sel
For the garnish:
- Bay scallops, Nantucket origin for me (about 6 to 7 per person)
- Olive oil flavored with white truffle
- Vegetable crisps, blue potato
- Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the shallot and cook with the coriander seeds and rosemary for a few min without browning.
- Add the vegetables and cook on medium heat for about 8 min.
- Add the water or broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 min, until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Stop the heat and mix your soup.
- Add the cream, the fleur de sel and parsley.
- Serve with scallops (sautéd for only 30 seconds in butter or oil) and a dash of truffled-infused olive oil OR blue potato chips and paprika.
Pour la soupe :
- 500 g de topinambours épluchés (660 g avec peau), épluchés et coupés en gros morceaux
- 1 grosse pomme de terre (100 g), épluchée et coupée en dés
- 2 branches de céleri, coupées en gros morceaux
- 1 petite bulbe de fenouil, coupee en gros des
- 2 échalotes, hachées
- 10 de graines de coriandre
- 1 branche de romarin
- Sel et poivre
- 750 ml d’eau (ou bouillon de légumes maison)
- 2 càs d’huile d’olive
- 2 càs de crème fraîche
- Persil frais, haché
- Fleur de sel
Pour la garniture :
- Petites coquilles st Jacques (environ 6 à 7 par personne)
- Huile d’olive aromatisé à la truffe blanche
- Chips de légumes, type vitelotte
- Faites chauffer l’huile dans une cocotte. Ajoutez l’échalote et faites suer pendant 2 à 3 min avec le romarin et les graines de coriandre.
- Ajoutez ensuite tous les légumes et faites suer pendant 8 min environ.
- Versez l’eau et amenez à première ébullition. Couvrez et faites mijoter pendant 20 min environ, jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres.
- Arrêtez le feu et mixez votre soupe.
- Ajoutez la crème, la fleur de sel et le persil haché.
- Servez avec des coquilles St Jacques (revenues dans du beurre ou de l’huile pendant à peine 30 secondes) et un filet d’huile aromatisé à la truffe blanche OU avec des chips de légumes (vitelottes) et du paprika.
Fantastic post, marvellous pictures!!!
You make winter look so beautiful… I love the red and the blue too!
Bea, tes photos et tes recettes m’épateront toujours… Quelles couleurs! Bravo.
La soupe… je suis déjà intéressée… mais le crème chocolat caramel là c’est un suplice de n’avoir seulement l’image à se mettre sous la dent !
ah, swoon … your photos (of the inside and out) never fail to be perfect and lovely. just beautiful.
We must be kindred spirits, Beatrice, since I too take long winter walks to get some cool air in my lungs and I too make wonderful bowls of sunchoke soup. You’res looks more lovely though! 🙂
On est sous le charme de ces magnifiques photos, comme d’habitude!
love love love these photos!
this recipe makes me want to run to the store right this second, get the things i need, and make this soup. and it’s late here! sunchokes AND fennel AND paprika AND scallops? i’m in love.
plus, the french word for jerusalem artichoke is so darn charming.
I never think of sunchokes — I’ve eaten them but never cooked them at home — so thank you for this wonderful recipe and a reminder about a food that needs to be more present in my kitchen.
Now I’m dying to see the recipe for the chocolate caramel cream. Everything looks wonderful.
Bea – you did it! I am so glad you like them! We are still in California, extending our visit, actually… But knowing that you are back there, maybe we will come back and share some soups with you before winter is over!
Ta recette tombe à pic. Hier soir j’ai voulu faire une soupe de topimanbours et elle était râtéé, aucun goût. C’est déjà la fin de saison chez nous, c’est peut-être pour cela ? Je testerai ta version et te dirai cela. C’est une bonne idée d’ajouter de la pomme de terre car contrairement à ce que l’on peut lire parfois, le topinambour n’est pas farineux et il faut forcément un agent liant comme la patate ! Tu as une bien jolie collection de soupes pour cette hiver, bravo !
De bien belles photos hivernales !! Vivement les photos printanières !
Plus que sous le charme, je suis séduite, éblouie. Tout me fait envie de la soupe (en plus j’apprends du vocabulaire chez toi :)) en passant par les fraises et cette terrible crème au chocolat.
I love sunchokes so much. They have such a fresh, summery flavor so deep in the winter. It’s snowing madly today. I wish I could stay home and go for a walk by the harbor to see the geese all fluffed up and hunkered down, and the come home and whip up a creamy, fragrant soup. But alas, work calls. I should go now!
J’adore les topinambours, c’est vraiment un légume qui mérite d’être connu et reconnu. Bon week end!
I am not, by nature, an ebullient or gushy person, but after having read your blog for a while now I have to say this. You constantly dazzle me with the beauty of your food and photographs, and, more importantly, with your perception and marvelous connection with life. Thank you for the gifts you give us.
Wow!! Bea you are simply incredible. Your photos are so fresh and delicate! It’s a joy visit your page. Besos
Tes photos me donnent toujours envie de plonger dans tes petits plats !!!
BEautiful. It is 80 degrees where I live right now and the winter wonderland looks so appealing.
What a great touch with that purple potato crisp! Beautiful soup.
oh so lovely. these photos make me want to go out and buy some sunchokes.
c’est rigolo Bea!
j’étais assise sur le parquet en train de publier presque la même soupe (… mais sans crème) et comme toujours avant de faire qoui que ce soit à l’ordinateur je viens chez toi et je vois ta soupe!!
I guess all of us adults have had that feeling that we just wanted to play too! I think if we are lucky, our inner child never dies!
We too have been feeling the need for soups already, looks as though I will need to start looking out for Jerusalem Artichokes too… I also love the idea of a purple chip to garnish, how unique!
I make soups so I can pretend we have winter here. I think we are sisters somewhere in another life , or it is a French thing, as I take walks like you early morning to the dock. The sea is so peaceful and quiet at that time. Beautiful food styling!
Zou pour mon week-end je me régale toujours en venant dans ton petit nid de blog…Bravo, bravo Béatrice…à bientôt.
Your photos are out of this world!
we just finished your soup – literally – haven’t even cleared the dishes. Had to tell you it was so, so good! (and quick!) – I made some adjustments (of course) – used 1/2 bulb celeriac instead of fennel, added 2 crushed garlic cloves along with the vegetables, used thyme instead of rosemary (only because that’s what we had). We garnished with fleur de sel and truffle oil and had it with a fresh whole wheat pasta from the farmer’s market tossed with white truffle oil. We had the best dinner – thank you! This one’s a keeper.
How can I add to everything that’s already been said, other than to say how I very much agree! This post is stunning – the nature photos! Everything. And as for props, each time you use those spoons, they catch my eye. I Love Them!
Ton blog est une pure merveille quel talent! C’est sure j’ai tout a apprendre en regardant et savourant ton blog
Je me suis permise de te tagger a bientot
I know you’re insanely busy–theres already 32 comments here–but HOW do you get such bright photos? the colors are always so sharp it is almost as if you always have 100% natural sunlight even indoors–i can’t seem to recreate natural light inside, how do you make it pop short of setting up a white backdrop? I have a nikon D70, but my photos never ever look as vibrant as yours.
Ta première mosaïque de photos de paysages… une merveille, je m’en régale.
I do love jerusalem artichokes – one of the few bright notes of winter and they lend themselves to soup so nicely.
J’aime beaucoup tes photos, elles sont toujours tres belles. Et cette fois si, ta ballade est racontee avec une telle sensibilite que l’on a presque l’impression d’y etre. a bientot.
With such a beautiful day as that I also would have gone out no matter what the mess I left behind! That sounds like a lovely soup…unfortunately Jerusalem artichokes have not cropped up on my side of the world yet…
My cookinghut, thank you
Aran, great to hear. Winter is lovely I must say.
Thérèse, merci beaucoup, encore une fois.
Valérie, ah oui, désolée, je rattraperai cela, pas assez de temps pour tout faire.
Nicole, thank you.
Jennie, oh just lovely.
Yoyo, many thanks once more.
Michelle, that is great. The best compliment I can receive is to inspire people to cook and rish to the store!
Lydia, I am sure you will love them. They are very delicate in flavor. Really too bad that they are often underrated.
AppetiteforChina, coming soon 😉
Kit, oh yes, and many thanks for the inspiration. Now you have to come back from CA 😉
Lilo, merci. J’espère que tu aimeras, et désolée de lire que ta soupe n’avait pas de goût. A charge de revanche!
Sophie, que des douceurs pour matin frileux.
Ann, what a good way to describe them indeed. Ah yes, if only work could sometimes be optional and let some more free time to play!
Flo, oui tout à fait d’accord avec toi.
Foodgrump, many many thanks for your really lovely compliment. Really touching to read.
Campodigragole, many thanks. Sweet.
Cindylola, ca ca me fait super plaisir de le lire.
Simply gluten free, ahahh, that is funny!
Hillary, thank you!
Liz, go now then 😉
Daniela, oh c’est trop marrant cela. On est sur la même longueur d’ondes.
Anali, yes it is a good thing that we keep this young freshness, no matter the age.
Bron, thank you! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.
Helen, oui, maybe it is indeed. Definitely well anchored in any case.
Eleonora, merci et à toi aussi.
Vegeyum, thank you!
Sabra, wonderful! I am really delighted to read!
Elarael, many many thanks. Ahaha, I love the spoons too 😉
Celine, mille mercis. Super sympa.
Mallory elise, well, bounce the light as much as you can, and shoot close to a window in the best time of the day!
Annemarie, oh yes true, amongst many more.
Joey, ah, bummer you cannot find them!
Ca fait longtemps que je veux essayer d’en faire une. Mais une aussi jolie, et pleine de saveurs differentes, je n’en avais jamais vu. je te dirai.
i went to the farmers market today in search of sunchokes after reading your recipe. i’m happy to say that i made your soup tonight and it was DElicious! thanks 🙂
I discovered these litle gems last year. It makes up for artichokes having such a short season in the spring. Topinambour are avaliable almost all winter here!
dommage que ton blog ne soit pas en Français,je l’adore mais ne parlant pas anglais je me comptante des photos,d’ailleurs j’aimerai savoir si tu es professionnelle et quelle appareil tu utilise et est- que tu donne des cours éventuellement ?
Pingback: A Healthy Sunday in March — Un dimanche de mars qui fait du bien by La Tartine Gourmande
Bea, I found the “topinambur” (in Italian the word is similar to the french one), but I cannot find coriander seeds. Do you have suggestions for a substitute, or can I just leave them out?
Yes you can leave coriander seeds out, if you cannot find them. In which case, I suggest adding fresh coriander along with the parsley!
Thanks for replying, I managed to find the seeds in the last shop in town that came to mind, so I have added them! The soup looks a bit coarse compared to your photos, it almost looks like you blended it at the end. Maybe my vegetable pieces were not small enough or should I cook it more?
Yes Alessandra, the soup is blended, which is what I mean when I write “mix your soup”.
Glad I asked! Time to use my hand blender! Dinner time is coming up.
I will let you know how dinner goes!
thanks for the assistance.
I just made your carrot and parsnip soup… needless to say I’m in love. For the sunchoke soup, do you find veg broth really makes a difference, and if so, would chicken stock be even tastier?
Pingback: Sunchoke Chowder:A Decadent Dinner For One | Forkful of News
Pingback: Sunchoke Chowder and Gluten-Free Beer Worth Drinking | Forkful of News
I made this yesterday as we here in Finland celebrated Independent day. What a festive, flavourful soup with scallops and truffle oil. We all loved it!
Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I was tempted by the sunchokes I found at our local winter farmer’s market to try to cook them for the first time. I searched my favorite blogs for a recipe and yours was a winner. My soon-to-be two years old toddler blended the soup and sprinkled pepper and fleur de sel on his bowl. I was afraid he wouldnt like it but he cleaned his bowl and asked for seconds with “miam miam topinambour” smile.
Pingback: Lunching on a Jerusalem Artichoke Soup — Déjeuner avec une soupe aux topinambours | La Tartine Gourmande » Whitney's Recipes
Pingback: The day I found mace | La Tartine Gourmande
Pingback: The soup which connects earth and sea | La Tartine Gourmande
Pingback: The soup which connects earth and sea | Outlooks & Insights
Pingback: Kitchen Princess
Pingback: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup - Protect your health