[生活] A springlike soup from the depths of the winter root cellar Celeriac Pear Soup

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Celeriac is one of those leap-of-faith vegetables. It’s not very well known—even goes by various aliases, including celery root. It’s round, it’s ugly, you dig it out of the ground, for Chrissake. For a really long time, it never even occurred to me to give it a try. That door was shut tight.

go-to-the-recipeThen ten, maybe 15 years ago the door cracked open just a tad, when in some now-gone (possibly macrobiotic?) restaurant in Los Angeles, I had a fantastic celeriac salad, that was so good, so fresh and interesting and crunchy and different from anything else I’d ever had, that it totally lit up my curiosity. Well, every attempt I made to duplicate it was an utter flop. Bitter, gross, but on the other hand, a huge waste of money and time. Yet I went on to try other approaches. Mashed. Baked. Celeriac Anna. Those were also colossal flops. Finally, three or four years back, I decided to just knock it off for keeps.

Until recently, when we were in Detroit, at the Eastern Market, just noodling around, and we happened to find—and purchase—a couple of nice, small, strangely handsome celeriac. One second, they were on the farmer’s table, and the next, they were in our tote.

So here I was, again in possession of not one, but two round, raw celeriac, and now what? I determined not to repeat my (numerous) mistakes. I wanted something not just tasty but something that felt like spring. This recipe, based on one on the online magazine Olive, fits the bill. The soup is truly fresh, a balance of earthy, savory and a bit sweet, with the bright promise of spring—especially surprising since it is built from a winter root vegetable and essentially a winter fruit, pears harvested in the fall and rationed out over winter.

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