A daring combination of parsnip and vanilla that I came up with during my time at Le Gallois restaurant. The vanilla works so well with the earthy creaminess of the parsnip.
2 Tbsp canola oil or water
4 banana shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
8 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Scant 2 cups vegetable stock
Scant 2 cups almond milk
1 vanilla pod
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
A few sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
Good extra-virgin olive oil
Heat oil or water in saucepan over medium heat, then sweat shallots and garlic until translucent. Add some seasoning, the parsnips and thyme sprigs.
Turn heat down very low and cover saucepan. Sweat parsnips until almost soft, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.
Add stock and milk and stir to combine. Spilt vanilla pod down middle lengthways and scrape out seeds using back of knife. Add seeds and pod to saucepan and bring soup to a boil, then take it off heat and scoop out vanilla pod.
Carefully pour soup into blender and blend until smooth. Pour soup back into saucepan and check seasoning, adding lemon juice, salt and pepper to bring out flavors.
Serve in warmed bowls or mugs. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and cranberries, a sprig or two of herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.