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Nasturtium and Haddock Soup

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I don’t think any chef sets out to create a “signature” dish. It’s a dish that, from the moment the first plate leaves the kitchen, it takes on a life of its own – and most importantly, gets people talking. My haddock velouté made its début at JAN many years ago and I could see immediately that we had a hit on our hands. Since then, it made an appearance at the Studio in Cape Town, and most recently, was reincarnated as a soup at JAN Franschhoek. It’s the kind of dish that, no matter the time of year, you can’t get enough of – the definition of a crowd pleaser – and the perfect way to kick off a wintry dinner with friends.

Nasturtium and Haddock Soup

SERVES: 6 | PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes | COOKING TIME: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

for the soup

100 g butter

30 ml olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

1 baby fennel, thinly shaved

80 g sundried tomatoes, in oil

20 g nasturtium flowers 

3 sprigs basil

500 ml cream

750 ml milk

500 g smoked haddock, portions

15 ml lemon zest

15 ml lemon juice

100 g matured cheddar, grated

To taste Maldon salt

To taste freshly ground black pepper

for the garnish

100 g chorizo

4 baby fennels, thinly sliced

10 g chives, finely chopped

6 sprigs curry leaves, deep fried

5 ml lemon zest

2 granny smith apples

METHOD

for the soup

To a medium saucepot, add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the finely chopped onions and thinly shaved fennel. Allow to simmer while stirring occasionally, when the mixture starts to caramelise, add the sundried tomatoes (drained from the oil), and simmer for another 5 minutes over a low heat. Add the haddock, nasturtium flowers, basil, milk, and cream, simmer for 30 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow to infuse and remove the haddock, blend all the ingredients together and strain into a clean pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the lemon juice and zest just before serving.

for the garnish

Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Remove the skin from the chorizo and slice into thin disks. Place on a baking tray and cook until crisp. Remove from the oven, allow to cool down, and chop finely. Slice the baby fennel very thinly and place it in ice water. Chop the chives very finely and mix with the chopped chorizo and lemon zest.

Use the apple to either slice into thin slices, or spiralise and freeze.

Serve the garnishes in separate bowls and allow each guest to garnish their soup as needed.

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