By Nancy Vallarella

Carrot enthusiasts on Long Island, get ready to hop with joy! The local carrot growing season is in full swing from June through November, and it’s time to embrace the rainbow of these vibrant root veggies.


Did you know carrots come in a dazzling array of colors? Long before the Dutch gave us the classic orange carrot in the 17th Century, carrots were flaunting their hues in yellow, white, and purple. Today, orange carrots reign supreme as a prime source of beta-carotene. Meanwhile, purple carrots boast anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants, and white carrots offer a gentler flavor, while yellow carrots tempt with their sweet allure.


We all know the joys of chomping on a crisp carrot stick, perhaps dipped in hummus or a tangy dressing. Buttered and roasted carrots are holiday staples, and let’s not forget those handy frozen peas and carrots. But let’s venture beyond the familiar! How about a carrot dish that’s deliciously different, satisfying, and brimming with personality?

Enter The Trattoria in St. James, where Chef Steven Gallagher (pictured above) crafts a carrot soup that’s nothing short of a masterpiece. Thanks to Chef Gallagher’s generosity, we’re unveiling this culinary gem for you to recreate at home.


Chef Gallagher’s secret? The magic of locally sourced carrots from HOG Farm in Brookhaven hamlet. “You can really taste the difference on the plate, and it holds up better too,” he assures us.


Drawing on his rich culinary journey and a transformative trip to Paris—where he discovered the aromatic allure of vadouvan (French curry powder) in a mussels and carrots dish—Chef Gallagher has infused this recipe with a unique blend of flavors. Add to that a touch of Italian elegance with fennel in the mirepoix, mascarpone cheese, and a delightful crumble of amaretti cookies, and you have a soup that’s nothing short of divine.

Carrot Ginger Soup with
Mascarpone & Amaretti Crumble

Serves 4-6
By Chef Steven Gallagher of The Trattoria, St. James

Ingredients:
• 2 lbs. carrots, sliced thin
• 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion (1 ½ cups), chopped
• ¼ cup fennel (bulb only), chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 inch piece of ginger
• 1 Tbs. vadouvan (French curry powder)
• 6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
• Basil stems (tied in a bundle) – optional
• 2 Tbs. cold butter, cut into pieces – optional
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• Garnishes – mascarpone cheese and crumbled amaretti cookies

Directions:

  1. In a heavy-bottom 5-quart pot, warm 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil over
    medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, fennel, and garlic. Grate half of the
    fresh ginger into the mix. Sprinkle in the vadouvan and season with salt.
    Sauté the vegetables until they are tender.
  2. Pour in the vegetable stock and heat until warm. Taste and adjust seasoning
    with additional grated ginger and salt if needed. Add the tied basil stems if
    using, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Once the soup is cooked, remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
    Discard the basil stems. Transfer the soup to a blender, working in batches
    if necessary. When blending hot liquids, remove the center part of the
    blender lid and cover the hole with a folded kitchen towel to allow steam to
    escape safely. Alternatively, use an immersion blender and a fine wire strainer.
  4. For a creamy, velvety texture, blend in the cold butter.
  5. Return the blended soup to the pot and heat through. Adjust the seasoning
    with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve the soup with a dollop of mascarpone cheese and a sprinkle of
    crumbled amaretti cookies.

Spiced Carrots with Hummus, Toasted Pine Nuts Carrot Top Pesto (Credit- Nancy Vallarella)

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