Harvest season came early this year. With that in mind a late September event seemed appropriate to Roman Roth when East End Hospice asked him to host a fundraiser on the Wolffer Estate. Generally vineyard hands in Bridgehampton start getting busy in the first week of October, this year was different. Due to continuous warm, sunny days in August and September, the grapes were ready for their bins ahead of schedule. As a result Roman’s plate was full on the last Saturday in September with a full team in the vineyards finishing up the harvest, and 1200 guests in a tent sampling food and wine from our regions best chefs and vineyards.
The day they chose was perfect. 75 degrees and blue skies with a soft wind blowing from the south across the vineyard. Our Estia’s Little Kitchen table was at the western end of the circus size tent, the display told a story of locally harvest ingredients. A wooden box from Christian Wolffer’s 2001 Premier Cru was filled with carrots, leeks, celery root, and potatoes from the Foster farm. On top of the box: a framed photo of the 20lb bluefish that I caught off Montauk Point a year earlier. The table top was covered with large paper potato bags featuring a “Tiger” logo from the Foster farm. A Sagaponack family run farm, growing potatoes for over 100 years. Our message was in keeping with the events mission: local farm/dock to table.
The potato soup was served cold in 2 oz. sampling spoons, finished with a pinch of smoked bluefish from my pal Eric at FishHampton. For 3 hours my helpers Virginia and Christina filled and finished the spoons while I explained to following recipe to all who asked.
1 quart potatoes (peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 quart carrots (peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 quart celery root (peel and dice into 1/4 inch cubes)
1 quart of leeks, remove greens and root, dice into 1/2 inch pieces
2 ripe green apples
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup Wolffer rose
1/2 pound smoked bluefish
1/2 bunch chervil or parsley
All vegetables should be soaked in cold water and drained twice to ensure a clean product.
Place the potatoes in a large pot filled 1/2 way with warm water, place on high heat and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. They should be softening. Drain, place in cold water and chill.
Place the carrots, celery root and leeks in separate roasting pans and add 2 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 cup butter and 2 tablespoons salt to each pan. The apples can go in a smaller pan with a 1/4 cup of water. Then roast all at 350 degrees covered with foil for 2 hours. Remove from oven, remove foil and chill.
When the vegetables have cooled, pass each batch through a food mill and combine all in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then remove and chill at 4 inches deep in a large shallow pan.
To serve, fill each bowl with soup then shred smoked bluefish sparingly over each. Garnish with a sprig of chervil or parsley.
Extra soup can be frozen for future use. It makes a good base for fish dishes when combined in a blender with pesto and clam juice. If smoked bluefish is not available, try smoked striped bass or and other smoked firm white fish.