A wedding photographer based in Boston, Betty combined her love of food photography and experimenting in the kitchen to share visually-focused recipe stories over at le jus d’orange. She loves to re-create and share her mother’s traditional Chinese recipes, bringing a bit of authentic Shanghai cuisine to readers’ virtual feasts. Her recipes are often flavored with Asian touches, as Betty loves to incorporate the ingredients she grew up with into desserts and other dishes to create new flavor profiles.
Carrots are always receiving attention due to their vibrant colors and heirloom varieties, and I love carrots, too, but recently I’ve been drawn to a vegetable that looks similar but possesses a different elegance and almost bold fragrance – parsnips. They’re pale and creamy in color and have a unique, earthy taste to them that is just perfect for a cozy fall soup.
As you peel a raw parsnip, you can almost taste the slightly sweet nuttiness of the vegetable, hinting at what it could taste like when cooked. I roasted them and then pureed them to form a soup. I’ve been obsessed with the umami-salty and sweet combination, so I couldn’t resist adding a dollop of miso to it, and then adding some tart, crisp apples to enhance the parsnips’ intrinsic sweetness.
This soup is cozy. Rainy day weather, foggy skies kind of cozy. Instead of topping it with croutons, I crisped up some thinly sliced lotus roots with some salt and pepper. These can be made ahead of time, which is what I did, since they require a lower temperature so they won’t burn.
Lotus root is a vegetable that is crunchy by nature, but can also get slimy when cooked. It’s a texture that is welcome and you can often find them stir fried or incorporated in soups in Chinese cuisine. I’ve had them stuffed with sweet sticky rice or even as part of a porridge dish. This time though, I deviated from tradition. Actually, the first time I served these was at our Table Sharing workshop – I topped miso corn soup with baked lotus root chips, and it was so pretty and delicious I had to reproduce it, and this parsnip apple soup seemed like a great candidate. And it was. I love the contrast between the geometric shape and color of the lotus root chip and the creamy, pale parsnip soup. After I topped the soups, I just piled the rest of the chips on a plate and ate them like, well, chips.
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