01 July 2008
garlic in its birthday suit.
I love the farmers market. It has brought so many new and yummy things into my life. Fresh things that you just can't find and any old supermarket. Things like green garlic. It wasn't until this year that I even new green garlic existed. I mean, I knew that garlic as we know it had to come from somewhere, but I never gave it a thought. I wish I had because green garlic is lots of fun. I wish it had come into my life sooner, but since I have it now, I am making the most of it. Mostly with this soup.
See, when I first read Orangette's blog about this soup, I kind of dismissed the part about the green garlic. I figured that if I wanted to make the soup, which I wasn't too hyped up on, then I could just use regular garlic. But then the farmers market intervened... there, at the lovely Loon Organics stand was a huge pile of green garlic. So I bought some and went about making the soup. And it is amazing. So I went back the next week and bought double the amount... and made double the soup. And this week I bought some more! But I still have some soup left since I made so much, so this batch is going into a green garlic soufflé!
It really is great stuff, people. If you have a farmers market near you, go and see if they have any left. It is nearing the end of its time, so you may have to wait until next year, but it is worth a shot. You might also want to ask for some garlic scapes... the flower stem that the garlic plant puts out. I just bought some on Saturday and they are going to be eaten soon. I'll let you know how that goes. Until then, here is the soup!
Spinach and Green Garlic Soup
adapted from Orangette
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ to ¾ lb. green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 qt. vegetable or mild chicken broth
8 to 10 oz. baby spinach leaves
3 Tbsp. crème fraîche
Warm the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is soft and translucent. Also, as the garlic cooks, you should notice that its scent changes from raw and sharp to sweeter and more mellow; that’s what you’re after. When the garlic is ready, add the stock, raise the heat a bit, and bring it to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove. Let it sit for 5 minutes – not too long, or the spinach will lose its color – and then, working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender, regular or immersion. The soup should be a rich shade of green and as smooth as you can get it.
Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Add 1 Tbsp. crème fraîche and another pinch or two of salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Serve warm or hot, with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of crème fraîche, if you like.
Yield: 4 servings