First, toast the bread for the croutons: Lay the bread on a baking sheet, brush slices lightly with oil and toast in the preheated oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until just lightly golden. Remove...

Serves 6

Croutons:

- Six ¼-inch-thick slices baguette or French bread

- Olive oil

- 3 ounces chevre (goat cheese)

- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Soup:

- 4 cups ½-inch-sliced peeled parsnips (about 1 ½ pounds)

- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- 2 tablespoons butter

- ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots

- 1 stalk celery, chopped (about ½ cup)

- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

- ½ cup dry white wine

- 4 cups chicken broth (I used packaged organic broth)

- 1 cup heavy cream

- ½ teaspoon kosher salt

- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

- Garnish: thinly sliced fresh chives and/or celery leaves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. First, toast the bread for the croutons: Lay the bread on a baking sheet, brush slices lightly with oil and toast in the preheated oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until just lightly golden. Remove and let cool. (You can do this the day before and keep croutons in a tightly closed container after they cool.)

3. Toss parsnips and olive oil together in a bowl to coat evenly. Spread out on a baking sheet (you can reuse the one used for the bread), and roast till golden and totally tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots and celery until very tender, about 3 minutes; do not brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds more. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add chicken broth, cream and roasted parsnips and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium or low to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add salt and cayenne.

5. In small batches, purée mixture in a blender. (Be careful; it’s hot!) Return soup to pan and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving.

6. To serve the soup and finish the crostini: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the cheese on the croutons, then top each one with 1 ½ teaspoons nuts. Press in slightly and bake for about 4 minutes or until cheese is warmed.

7. Meanwhile, heat the soup, stirring often, over medium heat till hot, making sure it does not stick on the bottom. Serve the hot soup in warm bowls. Top with chives or celery leaf, and serve a warm goat cheese crouton on the side.

©2006 by Kathy CaseyFood Studios ®