Saturday, May 23, 2009
More fresh spring radishes today. This one just cried out for a little transformation.
I also used the radish greens in my all purpose Good for You Green Soup. I've been used to tossing them into the compost and dismissing them as nasty, bitter and generally inedible, and for that I repent. The soup made with these greens had a bit of watercress flavor - it's certainly worth a try.
Good For You Green Soup is one of my favorite versatile comfort foods, easy to make and pretty reliable, and, if you don't indulge in the last minute splash of dairy, actually pretty low in calories. The base is nice and simple, and almost any spring vegetables work as accents. I've made it with asparagus, radish greens, spinach and kale. The soup is forgiving because you really don't need to measure ingredients - just toss in a handful or two of what you like. Mix the greens (spinach and asparagus are nice together). Leave out the leeks if you don't want to be bothered with them.
For 2-4 servings, you will need:
6 or 7 new potatoes, peeled and diced
Chicken or vegetable stock (about 2 cups)
Salt to taste
1 sprig of fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, oregano (or about 1 tsp dried - use what you like, and use more if you like the flavor)
1 medium shallot, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
Any of these spring greens: 8-10 asparagus spears, woody ends removed; 1-2 large handfuls of radish greens, spinach, watercress or kale (if using kale, remove the leafy green parts from the ribs and chop)
Put the potatoes, stock, salt and herbs in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a small skillet and gently saute the leeks about 1 minute, then set aside. If you're using radish greens, add them to the skillet, stir a bit and cook over low heat, covered, until the greens have wilted, about 5-8 minutes.
When the potatoes are soft, add the leeks and asparagus or greens to the saucepan and simmer, covered, about 5 more minutes (if using asparagus, cook until it can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife). Allow the soup to cool a bit, and then puree (I use a stick blender, but you could cool this more and puree in a regular blender, too).
You can serve the soup hot or at room temperature. If you'd like, heat in a saucepan before serving, and stir in a splash of cream, stirring until heated through. The potatoes will make the soup thick and creamy enough, but adding dairy at the end does give it a nice velvety texture. Then top with fresh ground pepper, crumbled bacon, or chives.
A final radish note: after feeling very pleased with myself for creating the delightful radish art pictured up top, I learned about La Noche de Rabanos, a Mexican Christmas festival that celebrates local agriculture in Oaxaca. Let's just say the carving gets a little more elaborate than mine.