This creamy soup, from Le Comptoir's ever-changing prix-fixe dinner menu, shows Yves Camdeborde's cooking at its most inventive and sublime. Camdeborde calls it "cuisine d'instinct," which means he departs from classic cuisine, here by placing raw, sliced sea scallops and sticks of sautéed smoky chorizo at the bottom of soup bowls, then pouring a light chestnut and celery root soup over them.
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2 chestnuts, scored
1/3 cup diced peeled celery root
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper
4 baguette slices
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 dry chorizo link (3 ounces), cut into 1-inch matchsticks
8 sea scallops (3/4 pound)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the chestnuts until just tender, about 5 minutes. Take 1 chestnut out of the water at a time and while still hot, hold it with a kitchen towel and peel with a paring knife. Crumble the chestnuts.
In a small saucepan, cover the chestnuts and celery root with the 1 1/2 cups of water and the cream, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the celery root is very tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until silky. Pour the soup into a small saucepan and season with salt and white pepper.
Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and bake until crisp, about 5 minutes. In a small skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook over moderate heat until sizzling, about 1 minute.
Remove the small white muscle from the side of each scallop. Slice the scallops crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the scallop slices on the bottom of 4 shallow bowls and season with salt and pepper. Scatter half of the chorizo on top. Bring the soup to a simmer and pour it over the scallops. Top with the remaining chorizo and serve right away, with the baguette toasts.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.
A fruity, moderately oaked wine would be a fine match for this nutty soup. Consider a Chardonnay from Washington's Columbia Valley.
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