Spring has sprung!
I have left behind a really busy month of March (hence the absence of post!), but being busy never disrupts my weekly Farmers Market runs. Gotta eat right? And I enjoy eating fresh produce from my local markets no matter what. Glad I did not miss my market runs though: what a delight March has been!
All sorts of Spring produce, and more, arrived back in force: Spring flowers, from daffodils to gorgeous tulips, pretty edible blooms, which looked taken from an impressionist painting, forests of fresh asparagus, and needless to say: Spring onions! You know it is Spring, when they are back in abundance at the market, and glowing with beautiful purple-ish and splendid green hues. Ah, and: strawberries. I was a little suspicious (scared!) about their early arrival, which is due to the generally warmer weather in past months. But I have to admit: they are actually amazingly delicious already, sweet, juicy, truly incredible.
I was particularly smitten with the Spring Onions this year, given how stunning they were when I spotted them at a vendor's stall at the San Francisco Ferry Building's Farmers Market. I was not surprised about how good they looked though, since this vendor, Knoll Farms, grows organic produce and uses biodynamic practices. It always shows. So I took a good handful home. There were so many possibilities to use them, and I hesitated a great deal as I was considering recipes. The idea of a warming soup won though eventually. It had been cooling down a little, and with Saint Patrick's Day, I had a few potatoes on hand. So I opted for Saveur Magazine's Potatoe and Spring Onion Soup recipe, which requires few ingredients and can be made quickly on a work day. This choice was all the more motivated by the fact that I had also found an enticing Pea, Mint and Spring Onion Soup recipe on the BBC Good Food website. Interestingly, the recipes were overlapping enough, save for the presence of pea and mint, that I thought I could use the left overs of the first to make the second.
The plan worked perfectly. I first made the Potatoe and Spring Onion Soup for Meatless Monday. I used 3 large Russet potatoes, the handful of spring onions I had bought, and water instead of stock as I did not have fresh vegetable stock on hand, and I do not always like store bought ones. With the help of a good pinch of smoked Alder salt and some herbs however, the soup was still delicious and comforting, just as I had hoped. I served it with a fresh butter lettuce sprinkled with edible flowers, thinly sliced mushrooms, chives, and a mustard vinaigrette, and added some strawberries with vanilla cashew cream for a sweet ending (more on that cream another time).
A couple of days later, I heated up the left-over soup, about 3-4 cups full. I added a full pack (284g) of frozen (organic) sweet peas, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves also picked up at the market, and a little water as the soup had thickened during refrigeration. I adjusted the seasoning, and blended it in my Vitamix ( a truly indispensable appliance to make great soup! other blends are good too). The result was a deliciously frothy and more-ish soup that was finished in no time!
The pea and mint soup could be finished with some heavy cream, but I liked it actually just as it was. And kiddo loved it, so this left-over make-over was a double success :).
By the way:
- I still say and write "Potatoe" - pls forgive the spelling if you are more a "Potato" person. :)
- You could finish the Potatoe and Spring Onion soup with a drizzle of olive, hazelnut or walnut oil.
- You can adjust the amount of mint to your liking in the pea soup.
- I forewent the Parmesan "biscuits" featured in the original recipe, but they could be a great addition if you eat cheese and have time/are enclined to make them.
- These soups are gluten-free, dairy-free, and will satisfy all eaters alike!