parsnip soup with spinach and scallops serves 4

50g butter
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
500g parsnips, peeled, cut into medium chunks
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp medium curry powder
400ml chicken stock
100ml double cream
1 tbsp olive oil
50g spinach
2 tbsp basil oil
4 hand-dived scallops, cleaned

For the soup:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the parsnips, thyme, honey and curry powder and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Pour in the stock and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender.

Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into the pan, stir in the cream and gently warm though.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the spinach and a few tablespoons water, then cook until wilted. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Keep warm.

For the scallops:

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the scallops and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to rest for a few minutes before serving.

To serve, divide the wilted spinach between shallow serving bowls and pour round the hot soup. Garnish with the scallops. Drizzle a little basil oil around the soup and serve.


From James Martin