Romanesco, nigella and horseradish make for a versatile combination. Here, seasonal grapefruit stands as the final flourish, but Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock suggest swirling in some pistou, garnishing it with finely chopped celery, celery leaves, shallots, and some grated lemon zest; or adding a little pancetta and caramelised onion.

Ingredients

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 large head romanesco, about 455g, trimmed
  • 480ml vegetable broth or water
  • 480ml double cream
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • Fresh horseradish root for garnish

Method

  1. To segment the grapefruit: Trim a little off the top and bottom of the grapefruit with a sharp knife so that there are two flat ends. Set the grapefruit flat on a cutting surface and cut away the peel and white skin from top to bottom, working your way around the fruit. Remove each citrus segment by cutting between the fruit and the membrane for each section; the wedges should release easily. Set aside.
  2. Cut the romanesco into ½-inch slices; the florets will fall apart into pieces. Transfer to a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the broth, cream, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the romanesco is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Carefully remove 240ml of the cooking liquid and set aside. In a blender or with a stick blender, blend the romanesco and remaining liquid until smooth. Add more of the cooking liquid as needed until velvety. The soup should coat the back of a spoon and have a nappe consistency (if you run your finger along the back of the coated spoon, you should see a clean line). Add the sugar and 1 tbsp salt and blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
  4. Divide the soup among four bowls. Garnish each with a few segments of grapefruit and a sprinkling of nigella. Use a zester to grate a couple of strikes of fresh horseradish over each bowl. Serve immediately.

Taken from Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock; photography by Dylan + Jeni. Published by Chronicle Books, abramsandchronicle.co.uk