The soup which connects earth and sea

weekend getaway Block Island Tartine Gourmande

Snapshots of Block Island in October

It’s the story of a soup that connected us to a place and a moment. Between earth and sea.

About a month ago, Lulu, P. and his parents and I traveled to Block Island. We’d decided of the trip quickly, choosing the small island off the coast of Rhode Island as the place to meet. Together, we wanted to spend a short week to celebrate the end of summer.

We rented a lovely house on the west side of the island. On top of a hill. Overlooking the ocean. Which, as it may read, sounds like we’d found the perfect getaway.

We had. It was perfect in every meaning of the word. It was délicieusement doux et sucré.

Our days were slow in the manner time passes on a small island. Refreshing in just the right amount.

When we spent time inside, we cooked and played with Lulu. Once outside, we wandered the winding roads, admiring meadows and ponds, before eventually finding one of the many gorgeous beaches of the island where we built stone piles and drew our names in the sand with wooden sticks. Lulu liked to imagine she was Ladybug Girl at the Beach.

I really love Block Island.

We had a terrific family time and ate lovely homey dishes.

Somehow, soup was at the center of this. Somehow, these trips always inspire me to prepare soup.

This carrot soup happened there. Or at least I started thinking about it after my mother-in-law and I bought clams one night for dinner.

I remembered the curried squash and red lentil soup I had prepared with clams when our friends Pierre and Akiko visited. I wanted something just like that. But something new too. I wanted that the soup celebrated the connection I felt on the island. Between earth and sea. With the transition into the new season.

gluten free soup carrot orange sweet potato clams recipe

Carrot, orange and sweet potato soup with clams and truffle oil

Carrots!

What?

Carrots. It’s a carrot soup,” I told P. on the first night when I brought the soup to the table.

It’s amazing!” he said after he tasted it. “So elegant and surprising. Yet so down-to-earth too.” I liked that he had found the words to describe what I couldn’t.

I had prepared the soup with carrots, orange and sweet potato, with aromas of ginger and coriander.

What’s this?” Lulu asked when she saw me drizzle truffle-flavored oil on top of the steaming soup.

Do you want some?

Oui s’il te plait.

I smiled. I liked that she asked for it.

Do you like truffle oil? I said as I watched her dip a piece of toasted baguette in the soup.

“Oui,” she said as she dipped more bread in.

Who wouldn’t like it? I am a fan of finishing my soups (like this sunchoke soup), with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Right then, I understood that this soup was becoming a favorite.

Carrot, orange and sweet potato soup with clams and truffle oil

Serves 6 to 8 people

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 pound peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 medium white (or orange) sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • Juice of 2 large oranges
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken or light vegetable stock
  • A few stems of fresh coriander
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • —-

  • 24 to 28 (depending on number of servings) small little neck clams
  • —-

  • Truffle-flavored oil, to serve
  • Chopped coriander, to serve

Steps:

  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ground coriander, onion, garlic, leek and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  • Add the orange zest and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables and the pear, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the water and stock, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the orange juice and coriander stems, and cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
  • Purée the soup finely and transfer back to the pot.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and check the seasoning for salt or pepper.
  • Steam the clams until they open completely.
  • To serve, ladle the soup in bowls. Add the clams, chopped coriander and drizzle with truffle oil.

40 comments

  1. What a glorious place to spend time with family. And this soup is exactly what we need now that the weather is turning cooler. Lovely post Bea!

  2. Beautiful photography. And the soup– ah, the soup. I certainly understand Lulu. Truffle oil, eh? The girl has taste! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  3. Lulu is getting so big! Lovely photos and lovely soup. I never thought of clams and carrots together, but it sounds tasty.

  4. I love the word he used, “surprising”. The element of surprise is so important in home cooking. Using unique flavor combinations stimulates the palate and makes us feel more alive. Your soup is lovely, simple, and fresh.

  5. What a wonderful soup! Stuning! I love the words P. used for this soup. We will definitely try it.

  6. Wow, Bea, this is just gorgeous…. in these pictures, Block Island looks a lot like what I picture Ireland to look like. You make me want to go EVERYWHERE!! This soup sounds amazing too– hearty, simple and beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. What a coincidence, also Cannelle et Vanille has a soup with clams on the top. yours and hers look beautiful in the same way, you’re very inspired. I would love some truffle oil, too…

  8. I’ve never heard of Block island, but it looks beautiful. Love that picture of the houses with the green hills, horses and ponds. I want to dive right into that picture–it doesn’t look real (but in a fairytale way rather).

  9. ooo this looks so, so wonderful. what a great combination of the flavors of, as you say, earth and sea. beautiful photos too, as usual.

  10. I thought I recognized those hills and beaches. We said good by again to the Block on Labor Day since the school year rules our vacation lives. You do it justice, although, don’t advertise too loudly- we need the island to STAY as enduringly special as it is. Thanks for the wonderful recipe as well!

  11. Oh my. When I lived in NYC, I always dreamt of going to Block Island–now I wish so much that I had! Tant pis mais merci pour une recette magnifique! Yum!

  12. Pingback: The soup which connects earth and sea | Outlooks & Insights

  13. Hi there, this is my first comment on your lovely blog although I have been reading for a little while now. I had never heard of Block Island. We have just moved to M.A .from Ireland and these pictures made me think you were there. It looks just like the Irish countryside. I think we need to take a long weekend trip there soon ! Love your recipes !

  14. I admit the name of your post is really appealing “The soup which connects earth and sea” and I allready like your soup… I’m not sure I can find Clam here in Israel , but maybe I’ll have a go with calamari.
    Have u another idea for a “non Clam” sea combo?

  15. Dear Béa,

    Have been following your blog for 2.5 years and absolutely love your pictures. Have you ungraded your camera or lenses recently? or still using the good old canon? keep up to great work. It’s a joy to watch your daughter grow up! =)

  16. Thank you everyone. Let’s keep Block Island secret so that it stays the same ;-) The best is obviously off season, when you can.

    Su, I upgraded my camera almost two years ago (to Canon 1D mark 4) so not sure ;-) Thank you for your kind words.

  17. I’ve been checking out your site for a while but haven’t left a comment until now. I just have to tell you that I think your photos are absolutely stunning. The vibrant colors, the placement of subjects… even your most casual pictures are a work of art. You truly have a gift. And how fortunate for your readers that your writing is equally inviting. I appreciate your talent and will continue to check in often.

    Thanks. :-)

  18. how beautiful. i love block island in the fall .there is something so magical about how the sun and breeze feels by the sea. the soup looks delicious

  19. I love that soup, but I love Block Island even more. You captured it in the best possible way with your photographs, but it’s such a beautiful island that you could photograph its ugliest place and it would still look lovely.

  20. Hi Bea! I have been using your recipes at home for quite a while, and they always turn out delicious. I must add that this soup (which I cooked today) is definitely a new favorite. That combination of root+fruit flavors is surprising and wonderful. Thank you!

  21. I’ve never been a fan of carrot soup but this looks amazing, the colour of the soup looks great and I enjoy seafood. You have such wonderful photographs too.

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  25. Your work is always inspiring and tempting to try..I am sure that this soup tastes great..yet in case I was not able to find Truffle oil..what would be a close substitute..Olive Oil ..Sesam Oil.!?

    The photos are simply totally expressive..I can smell the air and hear the wind whispering through the beach grass..

  26. Hi Azza,

    A god tasting olive oil would be just fine. And thanks for the lovely words! I hope you enjoy the soup.

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