The root of things

Use these aromatic vegetables to make hearty gourmet winter dishes.

Jerusalem artichoke soup with celeriac chips (photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Jerusalem artichoke soup with celeriac chips
(photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Root vegetables are at their best now – crisp and juicy, full of flavor and perfect for stews, soups and salads.
Chef Yossi Shitrit of Kitchen Market Tel Aviv has created several festive but easy recipes using fennel, Jerusalem artichokes and other root vegetables that are available right now.
Serves 4
✔ 200 gr. clean fillets of white fish
✔ 1 fennel
✔ 2 oranges
✔ Olive oil
✔ 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ Flowers from fennel leaves for garnish
✔ 100 ml. yogurt
✔ Thassos olives, pitted
Slice the fish thinly and arrange overlapping in a circle between two layers of plastic wrap. With a wooden hammer, gently pound the fish until thin (about 3 mm.) and fits the size of your serving plate.
Using a slicer or mandolin, slice the fennel very thinly.
Peel oranges, separate into segments and remove membranes and seeds.
Arrange the fish on a plate and cover the whole plate in an even layer. Arrange the orange segments and olives on top.
Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on the carpaccio and season with a little sea salt.
Garnish with the fennel flowers.
Place yogurt in a pastry bag, and squeeze dots of yogurt on the carpaccio.
Serves 4
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ Handful sliced leek
✔ 1 medium onion, sliced
✔ 1 kg. Jerusalem artichoke, peeled, sliced
✔ 250 ml. cream
✔ 1 liter milk
✔ Salt
✔ Truffle oil
✔ 2 celery roots
✔ 1 liter canola oil
✔ Red Mizuna (Japanese mustard) leaves for garnish, or use red basil
To prepare soup: In the soup pot, sauté onion and leeks in the butter until soft but not brown. Add artichokes, cream and milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until artichoke is cooked through.
Transfer the soup to a blender and grind.
Season with salt and truffle oil to taste.
For a silky texture, strain the soup through a fine strainer.
To prepare celeriac chips: Heat oil in a deep pot until fragrant (about 170°). Peel celery roots and slice thinly lengthwise. Fry the celery slices until they brown and curl.
Transfer to paper towels and season with a little salt.
Serve soup in bowls, garnished with herbs and celeriac chips.
Serves 4
✔ 2 kg. carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
✔ 100 gr. butter
✔ 1½ liters vegetable broth
✔ Chopped chives for garnish
In a shallow and wide pot, melt butter over low heat and continue cooking until butter becomes nutty and brown but not burnt. Add carrots and sauté, stirring for 10 minutes.
Cover the carrots with broth and continue cooking until carrots are soft. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt.
To heighten the butter flavor, add a little more butter to the soup while pureeing.
Strain and serve garnished with chopped chives.
Serves 4
✔ 4 fillets of mullet (buri) 120-150 gr. each
✔ 250 gr. friki (green wheat)
For the friki
✔ 2 medium onions, chopped
✔ ½ cup olive oil
✔ 1 cup dehydrated moist tomatoes, chopped
✔ 1½ liters vegetable broth (or water)
For the cream
✔ 1 kg. celeriac, peeled and cubed
✔ ½ kg. parsley root, peeled and sliced
✔ 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
✔ ½ liter milk
✔ ½ liter water
✔ 250 ml. cream
To prepare the cream: Cook the vegetables in milk and water over low heat until soft. Drain and transfer to the blender. Heat cream in a small pot and add to the cooked vegetables. Grind the vegetables, gradually adding the warm cream until smooth and velvety. Season with salt. Strain in a fine strainer.
To prepare the friki: In a nonstick pot, cook onions in half the oil over low heat until softened and slightly browned. Add tomatoes and continue cooking a few minutes.
Add friki and start adding the liquid: add ⅓ of the liquids and cook until absorbed. Repeat with the rest of the liquids, adding ⅓ at a time and cook until friki is cooked and tender.
Make sure the bottom is not burning.
If this happens, transfer the friki to another pot.
If all liquids have been absorbed and friki is still not cooked, add a little more. Before serving, add oil and salt to taste.
To prepare the fish: Heat a nonstick skillet until very hot. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbsp.
olive oil to the hot skillet and place fish skin-side down in the skillet.
Cook until the skin is browned and crunchy. Turn and cook a few seconds on the other side. The cooking process of the fish should take about 6 or 7 minutes.
To serve: Pour 1 to 2 Tbsp. of cream on a serving plate, place a few Tbsp. friki on the cream and top with fish, skin-side up. Garnish with parsley or arugula leaves. 
Recipes and photos courtesy of chef Yossi Shitrit and Kitchen Market restaurant.
Kitchen Market Tel Aviv offers contemporary cuisine with a great view. Located on the second floor of the Farmers’ Market at the Tel Aviv Port, the beautiful sea view, friendly atmosphere and excellent food make Kitchen Market one of Tel Aviv’s hottest spots. Chef Shitrit and owners Assaf Lis and Alon Friedman have created a gem, with reasonable prices and exciting culinary delights. Tel: (03) 522-6669. Not kosher.