Jerusalem Artichoke Soup from the Nopi Cookbook
If you have been to my small under 800sq ft apartment, you would know I have a thing for cookbooks. They are piled on my coffee table, side table, in the media cabinet, displayed on floating shelves, plus one open on the counter and possibly one on my bedside table. I love to read them cover to cover before attempting a recipe. I stock up on vintage ones during church sales in the summer in cozy little new england towns, and sit and wonder about which ones I should buy online. So when I say I love a cookbook, you know it has to be good.
This one is no exception. The NOPI cookbook is the latest in the Ottolenghi publishing series. You've of course heard of Plenty, Jeruselum, Ottoleghi and Plenty More? Yeah, they are pretty well known these days. Especially Plenty and the sequel. Nopi is actually one of the his restaurants in London, and so as you can guess, the recipes are ones from the restaurant. Tweaked a little bit, but not much.
Now, his other cookbooks are known for being a little different. For many American groceries, we have to search high and low for some of the ingredients. Stop at local indian spice shops or asian markets to get some odds and ends. For me personally, I buy AT LEAST one bottle of Pomegranate Molasses which is now a pantry staple after recipes in Plenty. Seriously, try it. Take the cooking level of Nopi and then add in restaurant techniques and you get something NOT for the faint at heart. They say they highly suggest mise en place for every recipe. Meaning you prep, plan and get each ingredient ready before starting. This means you won't see "chop and prep the veggies" in the recipe. It's an advanced recipe book from a great restaurant, so ready yourself.
Is the prep worth it, yeah! Of course it is! For me, this is the first cookbook in a while to really challenge me. Cooking can now be a little bit about technique instead of creativity.
I started with the simplest recipe in the entire book - Jeruselum Artichoke Soup. Of course, I have zero ability to follow a recipe all the way, so I made my own pesto. I wanted a more traditional rough chop pesto with my soup instead of using hazelnuts (not a big fan unless in Nutella).
Note about Jeruselum Artichokes. They are like little mini potatoes that taste like artichokes. Sometimes referred to as Jeruselum FARTichokes, you really can't eat these raw, which is why you will see them boiled and peeled in most recipes. Prepare to give yourself a LOT of extra time to peel these, they have knobs etc. Also be sure when you buy them you buy MORE than 2lbs. Once you peel them you lose a good amount of weight. So buy 2.3-2.5 lbs instead.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced (100g)
- 1 medium leek, trimmed, washed, halved lengthways and then thinly sliced, white part only (120g)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2lb Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and thinly sliced 1–2mm thick
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cup full-fat milk
- 3 cup vegetable stock
- 1/3 oz chives, finely chopped, to serve
Place the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Add the leeks and garlic, along with 11/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook for another 3–4 minutes, until soft but gaining no color.
Add the artichokes and cook for 12 minutes, stirring from time to time, until beginning to soften and caramelize.
Pour over the wine, bring to a simmer and cook on a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, to reduce by a quarter. Add the milk and stock and bring to the boil.
Skim the surface of any impurities, then reduce the heat to medium.
Simmer for 50 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the artichokes are cooked through and completely soft.
Remove from the heat and blitz well in a blender, until completely smooth, adding a bit more stock if you need to thin it down.
To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and drizzle with the pesto (recipe below). Sprinkle with the chives and serve at once, with a final drizzle of oil.
Rough Chop Basil + Mint Pesto
- 3 Tbs chopped basil
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh mint
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs Grated Parmasean
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- pinch of salt
- optional: pinch of red pepper flakes
Start by prepping the ingredients, washing the mint and basil, remove stems and chop finely. This can be as small or as big chopped pieces as you like. I like bigger pieces in a soup rather than a pasty traditional pesto, which is why I chop by hand. Feel free to make this recipe easier by using pre-made pesto.
Next dry toast your pine nuts in a pan on medium heat. Do not walk away from the stove. If you are new to this, gently move the pan every few seconds and the moment they are a good rich golden brown remove not only from stove, but from pan which will continue cooking them.
Chop pine nuts finely, add to bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix and serve.
NOTE: I made a good cheddar toast with the pesto as seen in the photos. A nice crunchy bread, sliced, toasted, then add a 1/2 teaspoon of the pesto to each. Put them in the broiler (or broiler setting on toaster - like myself) and let the cheese get nice and melty and golden brown. This way you don't end up with just soggy cheesy bread, but have a good toast under the cheese first.