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Celery Root & Apple Soup with a White Cheddar Cap

(FROM "IRON CHEF AMERICA" - Mark Tarbell vs Cat Cora)
Makes 4-6 Servings
2 lbs celery root bulbs, rinsed well
4 Granny Smith apples (may also use Cortland or Macintosh)
1/2 a large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 an 8-oz russet potato, scrubbed, peeled, and finely diced
4 cups whole milk
Salt and white pepper
1/8 pound unsalted, organic, European-style butter
1.  Trim the outer layer of the celery root, cutting around bulb and leaving the center white flesh.
2.  Dice celery root.
3.  Peel, core and seed the apples.  Grate apple on a box grater.
4.  Place a large saucepan over low to medium heat.  Add milk, celery root, apples, onion, and potato.
5.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 45 minutes, until celery root is fork-tender.  (Do not use high heat, it will scorch the milk.)
6.  Carefully puree soup in a blender until smooth.  Strain through chinois or fine mesh strainer.
7.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste and stir butter into soup.
Cheddar Cap
12 ounces grated white Cheddar
1.  Place a very clean, small, dry, non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add 2 ounces of grated Cheddar, evenly distributed in the pan.
2.  Cook about 2 minutes on one side and check for color.  You want each side to be a crispy golden brown.  When the first side is cooked, flip and cook the other side.
3.  Remove immediately from pan and place onto a cutting board.  Using a cup or ring mold, cut cheese into a circular shape. Place round on paper towels to drain.
4.  Repeat the process for each cheddar “cap”.
1 Red Delicious apple
1 ounce celery leaves (pale green, innermost leaves from celery stalks, 4 per serving)
2 tsp lemon juice, divided
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1.  Fill a bowl with very cold water and add 1 tsp lemon juice.
2.  Core the apple and cut into very thin strips, immersing in the cold water.
3.  Just before serving drain apple strips, dry with a towel, and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, and celery leaves in a small bowl.
To Serve
1.  Heat serving bowls.
2.  Divide soup between bowls. 
3.  Top each bowl with a cheddar cap. NOTE: Cap will soften quickly and sink into soup.  Do not place cap on bowl until just ready to serve.
4.  Spoon garnish atop the cheddar caps and serve
©Tarbell’s 2006