Seasonal treat: Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon zest and parmesan

Just a recipe today for this seasonal treat: Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon zest and parmesan. I kept it simple. Clean tasting and light, with a gentle Jerusalem artichoke flavour, heightened with a touch of lemon, and rounded off with some parmesan. Enjoy.       DSC_0155

DSC_0232 

Jerusalem artichoke soup with

.

lemon zest and parmesan

.

.

SOURCE:  My own recipe

PREPARATION TIME: about 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Modern European

SERVES: 2

.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1 – 2 tbsp light olive oil, or vegetable oil

10 cm celery stick, halved and sliced thinly

250 g Jerusalem artichokes, diced into small cubes or sliced

Warm water

1/2 – 1 dl milk (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp lemon zest

a small squeeze of lemon juice

1 dsp parmesan

.

METHOD:

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan, and add the garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes on medium low heat.

2. Add the celery and sauté for a couple of more minutes.

3. In go the artichokes! Stir the vegetables, and cover the pan with a lid, leaving it to sweat together until the artichokes are beginning to soften (about 5 – 10 min).

4. Add enough warm water to cover the vegetables, and cook for a few minutes more, until the vegetables are completely softened. (But please don’t overcook them.)

5. Transfer the veg into a food processor, and blend with the milk if you’re using it into a smooth puree. Or just mash them if you’re not using a food processor/blender.

6. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste.

7. Finish off with lemon juice and zest. It’s important not to overpower the flavour of the artichokes, so start by adding only a little lemon, and check the taste and fragrance before adding any more.

8. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve with some nice bread. Enjoy!

 

The Best of Aubergines: Italian Parmigiana

Sicilian dish parmigiana is one of my favourite dishes, if not the favourite dish, starring one of my favourite  vegetables – the aubergine! With its layers of soft, smoky aubergine that melts in the mouth, slices of mozzarella and tomato sauce, parmigiana is an absolute star dish! Simple, yet stunning, and showcasing the best of the seasonal ingredients, this is my entry for Eating with the Seasons: September. I know, I know, I’ve already cooked with aubergine for Eating with the Seasons, but hey – aubergine is in season! 😀

My parmigiana is very simple, with few ingredients, and this is just the way I like it. I grill my aubergines (hence the smokiness from the previous paragraph), rather than fry them, which is traditional; I use a simple tomato sauce, with a touch of fresh basil. That’s it. That’s my secret. Not that you need many secrets with a combination of flavours as perfect as this.

 

Parmigiana with

 

Aubergines

 

SOURCE: Can’t remember. My variation of a few versions

PREPARATION TIME: 5 – 10 min

COOKING TIME: about 1 h

CUISINE: Italian (Sicilian)

SERVES: 3 – 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

I. For grilled aubergines

1 large aubergine

a little olive oil

salt and pepper

II. For the tomato sauce

a little olive oil

1/2 yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tin tomatoes (I like the Napolina brand), or 400 g fresh tomatoes

a pinch of sugar

a handful of fresh basil

III. Cheese

1 packet of mozzarella, sliced

some grated parmesan for topping

 

IMG_6683

 

METHOD:

I. Grilled Aubergines

  • Cut the aubergines into either round slices, or diagonally. (Round is prettier!)
  • Season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Try and use a brush here. It really makes your life easier, and the aubergines drink up less oil.
  • Grill the aubergine slices until soft and golden on both sides.

II. Tomato sauce

  • While the aubergines are cooking on the grill, gently cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. (I sometimes skip the onion, and use only garlic)
  • Add the tomatoes, a small pinch of sugar and the seasoning, and cook for 5 – 10 min for a fresh-tasting tomato sauce, or longer if you prefer a richer tomatoey flavour.
  • Just before assembling the dish, put in a handful of fresh basil into the sauce and stir.

III. Assembling the dish

  • Put a layer of grilled aubergines at the bottom of a heatproof dish, top with mozzarella, and then tomato sauce. (I use an oval ceramic Le Creuset 24 cm baking dish for this purpose, which has the capacity of 1.1l.) Continue like this until you run out of aubergines, finishing off with a layer of mozzarella, sprinkled with parmesan on top.
  • Bake on 200 C or so for about 20 – 30 min, or until the top is nicely golden, and the cheese melted.

Serve with a salad and some garlic bread to mop up the juices.  

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Other aubergine recipes at Maninas:

Ajvar – aubergine and red pepper relish V

This lovely relish is probably the most popular condiment of the former Yugoslavia.

Indian Aubergine Pate – Baigan Bharta  

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