Celeriac, oyster and apple soup
(Serves six as a starter)
For the soup
40g unsalted butter
400g celeriac, peeled and roughly diced
200g eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly diced
200ml Champagne or dry white wine
1 litre white chicken stock
6 fresh oysters (rock or native) in their shells, cleaned and shucked (juice retained and sieved to remove sand and grit)
200ml double cream
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the garnish
100g eating apples, cored and cut into fine batons
First, make the soup. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the celeriac, diced apples and salt and pepper, then cover and sweat for 6-8 minutes or until softened without colouring.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium, then add the Champagne or wine and cook for 5-6 minutes to reduce to a syrup. Add 850ml of the chicken stock and all the strained oyster juices, cover and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, then cook for 18-20 minutes or until the celeriac is fully cooked and soft.
Add the cream, then bring the soup back to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup until smooth, then pass it through a fine sieve.
eep the soup warm while you poach the oysters.
Heat the remaining chicken stock in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring it to a gentle simmer. Poach the oysters in the simmering stock for 30 seconds.
Drain, reserving the oysters and discarding the stock.
Serve the hot soup in warm bowls with the poached oysters. Garnish each portion with some apple batons and ½ teaspoon caviar. Serve immediately.