A couple of weeks back when it was really chilly, I wanted to make a classic leek and potato soup, a potage Parmentier, as a first course for our dinner menu. So I grabbed a bunch of leeks and prepped them and then went back to the walk-in for the potatoes.
No potatoes. How does a restaurant have no potatoes? To be quite honest, we don't serve a lot of potatoes and we have a really small walk-in, so we buy potatoes in very small quantities. It was a Friday, the day before market day at the farmers market in the winter, and we had run out.
Potatoes are easy enough to borrow from another restaurant, but I took the situation as a challenge and went back to the walk-in to hunt for stand-ins such as parsnips. Parsnips are a no-go by April; they get black spots and start deteriorating by March.
But, I did see a half a case of salsify. Perfect. The resulting soup was silkier and smoother than the soup with potatoes would have been.
Adding salsify to soup is not a novel concept by any stretch, but it sure wasn't top of my mind. I'll be adding this trick to my repertoire of vegetable purées that I can use to thicken soups without adding a lot of flavor.