© David Loftus
potato, celeriac and truffle oil soup
The fact is, I know using truffles at home is a little pretentious and very decadent, but even my local supermarket now stocks truffle oil. Admittedly it’s more than likely not the real McCoy, but it does have a flavor you can’t put your finger on — a kind of fragrant, garlicky, encapsulating smell which when used with subtlety is great. Truffle oil can be used for so many things — with a simple risotto or tagliatelle it’s amazing. Then, when you’ve got a yen, treat yourself to the real thing, be it black or the exceptional white truffle.
In an appropriately sized pot, slowly fry the onion in the butter and olive oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent and soft but not colored at all. Get your bunch of thyme, tie it up with a little string and add to the pot with the celeriac, potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the cream, bring back to a boil, then remove the thyme and purée the mixture in a blender or food processor. Season carefully with salt and pepper to taste, adding the truffle oil tablespoon by tablespoon — the oil can vary in strength depending on the brand. Divide between your serving bowls. Feel free to improvise by adding croutons, a little extra cream or, if you’re really lucky, some real black or white truffles shaved over the top.
Try this: If you want to give an edge to this comforting soup, try dressing some chopped parsley and celery leaves with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle over the soup just before serving.
• 1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 good pat of butter
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 bunch of fresh thyme
• 1lb 2oz celeriac (celery root), peeled and roughly diced
• 1lb 2oz floury potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
• 2 pints chicken stock
• 7 tablespoons heavy cream
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3—4 tablespoons truffle oil