Celery Root Soup with Shad Roe
A member of the herring family, the shad is particularly prized for its delicately flavored roe, which is available only for a short season in the early spring. To enjoy this soup at other times of year, substitute shrimp for the roe, as Chef Palladin did for his Great Chefs demonstration.
- Celery Root - 1 (about 8 ounces)
- Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons, fresh
- Boiling Potato - 1 (about 6 ounces)
- Olive Oil - 6 tablespoons
- Onion - 1 small, finely diced
- Shallot - 1, minced
- Thyme Sprigs - 2 fresh
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups (alt. half-and-half)
- Milk - 1 cup
- Veal Consommé - 3 cups (alt.veal stock, or chicken stock)
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Bartlett pear - 1
- Shad Roe - 2 pieces (alt. 1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined)
- Fresh lLobster Roe - 2 tablespoons, sieved to obtain individual eggs (optional)
- Chives - 2 tablespoons, minced fresh
Peel the celery root with a sharp paring knife, cut the root into 1-inch cubes, and immediately rub the pieces with some of the lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Peel the potato, cut it into 1-inch cubes, and place the cubes in a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and shallot and saute, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the celery root, drained potato, thyme, cream or half-and-half, milk, and consommé or stock. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a blender or food processor with 1 cup of the liquid. Puree until smooth and strain the soup through a fine-meshed sieve. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Peel and core the pear and rub it with the remaining lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Cut the pear into 1/4-inch cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat and saute the pear for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
Rinse the shad roe in cold water and blot dry on paper towels. If the fishmonger has not done so, cut into the thick membrane covering each lobe with a small sharp knife and remove it carefully, but do not cut the thin inner membrane. Place the two connected lobes into ice water for 5 minutes, then drain and gently pat dry with paper towels. The two lobes should be separated before cooking.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saute pan or skillet over low heat. Add the shad roe and cook it for 5 minutes on a side, seasoning it with salt and pepper to taste (If using shrimp, saute them for 2 to 3 minutes in olive oil, until they have turned bright pink.)
To serve: Place some of the sauteed pear in the bottom of each soup plate. Slice the shad roe and place several slices on top of the pear. Carefully pour celery soup around the roe without covering it. Garnish with a sprinkling of the lobster roe and the minced chives.