Carrot Soup With Honeycomb Candy
Chef Jamie Simpson
Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden
Chef Jamie Simpson created this soup for a fall reception at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, an educational center that focuses on seasonal vegetables and herbs grown on the adjacent farmland and greenhouses. The creamy soup features carrots, hemp seed and coriander blooms sweetened with honey. A garnish of infused oil, crispy ham and crunchy honeycomb candy creates additional layers of flavor and texture.
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
1¾ lb. orange carrots
1 tbsp. honey
1 bay leaf
8½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups heavy cream
Salt to taste
Coriander blooms or cilantro leaves
1¼ cups sugar
½ cup honey
½ tsp. fine salt
1 tbsp. baking soda
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Flaky salt, for sprinkling
Carrot top oil
2 oz. carrot tops, leaves picked (2 cups) and stems reserved
½ cup sunflower oil
1 qt. vegetable oil
6 slices shaved prosciutto, speck or country ham
1. For soup: In medium sauce pot, combine butter, leeks and carrots. Place over medium heat and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Add honey, bay leaf and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer an additional 14 minutes.
3. Transfer soup to large blender container; process on high speed about 30 seconds or until pureed. Pass soup through a fine mesh strainer into large bowl; add heavy cream to taste, as needed, to round out the flavor and texture. Season to taste with salt and honey.
4. For honeycomb candy: Spray 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the paper. In wide skillet, combine sugar, honey fine salt and 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring or swirling the pan, until amber caramel forms and mixture reaches 300 F on candy thermometer.
5. Remove from heat and quickly stir in pumpkin seeds to evenly incorporate; stir in baking soda. (The mixture will bubble up, so stir carefully.) When baking soda is fully incorporated, pour caramel into prepared pan; let cool. Turn out candy and break into small pieces.
6. For carrot top oil: Measure carrot tops into blender container. In medium saucepan, heat oil until warm; pour over carrot tops. Blend on high about 5 minutes. Line a fine mesh sieve with a coffee filter or a few layers of cheesecloth; pour oil through the sieve to strain.
7. For crispy ham: Pour oil into deep fryer or large saucepan; heat to 300 F. Add ham, one or two slices at a time; fry until ham is crispy. Drain on paper towels.
8. For service, place a few pieces of honeycomb candy and crispy ham on bottom of each of 12 bowls. Drizzle with carrot top oil and garnish with coriander blooms and a spoonful of hemp seeds. Pour in hot carrot soup and serve.
Photograph courtesy of National Honey Board