There are specific foods that come to mind when the weather snaps into a brittle cold: stew, chilli, hot chocolate and of course soup.
A bowl of Chef Joe Nastro's soup will add some warmth and aroma to any cold or snowy day. Joe is the sous chef at Ciao Restaurant in Basking Ridge, offering casual Italian cuisine in a warm and open environment with a central wood-burning fireplace. Ciao is part of the Harvest Restaurant Group including Roots Steakhouse, Tabor Road Tavern, Grato and Huntley Tavern.
Celery Root and Apple Soup with Sage Oil
Yield: 4 quarts
1 cup olive oil
4 ea sprigs fresh sage
1 ea onion, julienned
1 cup apple cider
3 ea celery root
6 ea apples, Gala, Honeycrisp, Cameo, Macoun or the like
1 ea bay leaf
For the sage oil, roughly chop sage and place in small sauce pot. Add olive oil, place over medium heat and warm just until the sage starts to fizz. Remove from heat, and set in a warm location while you make the soup.
Cook onions with a bit of olive oil until soft and translucent, making sure not to brown the onions or the soup will be less white at the end. Add apple cider and reduce by half.
Fill pot with one quart of water and add bay leaf.
Peel and cut celery root into large chunks and place directly into water so it doesn’t oxidize. Add enough water to keep celery root just barely under water. (Adding too much water will make the soup too thin at the end. You can always add more water later.) Simmer until celery root is almost soft, approximately 20 minutes.
Peel and cut apples directly into water and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaf from the pot.
Puree the soup in a blender leaving some liquid behind so as not to thin out soup too much by adding too much of the cooking liquid. Strain through a fine sieve and season with salt.
Strain the sage oil. Serve the soup drizzled with the sage oil.
Photo credit: http://photograzing.seriouseats.com/tags/celery%20root