Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Vegetable Soup

I’ve fallen back into my habit of weekly trips to the farmer’s market. I went to the market again this past Saturday to get:
  • Milk, eggs, yogurt, and raw milk cheddar from South Mountain Creamery – because milk that isn’t ultrapasteurized, egg yolks that are practically orange, and raw milk cheeses are way tastier than what you can buy at the supermarket
  • Spinach - to recreate the spinach and ricotta gnocchi that never came to fruition the previous Saturday
  • Strawberries - which I learned need to be eaten either the same day or the next otherwise they’ll turn to mush
  • Local asparagus – because it’s good to buy local and seasonal
  • Yemisir Wat (spicy lentil stew) from Ethiopian Delights – because I love Ethiopian food and I ate the container I bought two weeks ago in one sitting…and then I did it again this past Saturday – apparently it’s my newest obsession
The larger Baltimore Farmer’s Market under the JFX is opening this Sunday – hooray! – and I think I’m going to have to abandon the Waverly market after my brief affair with it. Not only is the JFX market larger, but it’s much closer to my apartment than the Waverly market and therefore I can walk to it.

I didn’t buy quite as much at the market this past Saturday as I did two weeks ago, when I came home with a bounty of spring produce: sugar snap peas, radishes, spring onions, asparagus, and swiss chard. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them – a simple spring vegetable soup. The vegetables come together easily and quickly to create a light yet rich-tasting soup that’s perfect for a rainy day like today.

Spring Vegetable Soup
(serves 4)

2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch spring onions (3-4 stalks)
½ teaspoon salt
1 bunch radishes
1 cup white wine
1 quart vegetable broth
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 pound asparagus
½ pound sugar snap peas
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Approximately 80 herbed French gnocchi (optional, but they make the soup a heartier meal)


Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot set over medium heat. Thinly slice the spring onions and reserve 1 cup of the green part. And the sliced spring onions to the pot along with the salt. Cook until they are very soft and have reduced to about ¼ of their original volume, about 8 minutes. If they start to brown, lower the heat.

In the meantime, wash and trim the radishes. Cut them into 8 wedges (quarter them and then cut each quarter in half). Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the radishes and toss them in the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned on all sides; this will take about 6-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

When the spring onions are cooked, add the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot. Simmer until almost all the wine has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, water, and black pepper and cover the pot.

Cut the stems out of the chard and chop them into approximately ¾” pieces. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Snap off any woody stems on the asparagus. Cut off the tips and cut the stalks into pieces the same size as the chard. Trim the ends of the sugar snap peas and, depending on the length of the pod, cut them in half or into thirds.

When the soup comes to a boil, add the chard stems, asparagus, and sugar snap peas and lower the heat so that the soup is simmering. Cover the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and stir well. Remove the pot from the heat and keep it covered.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and add about 20 gnocchi to each bowl. Top each serving with a pinch of lemon zest, a sprinkle of parsley, and a heaping teaspoon of the grated cheese.


Melissa said...

Hi Roopa! I just found your site today and I'm so impressed - I never knew you were such a good cook!

-Melissa G (we went to high school together)

Anonymous said...

Yum! I should try going to the famer's market sometime to get all these great veggies.

Kitchen Jini said...

Hi Roopa,
This looks like a great soup to try - I also love cooking seasonally. You have reminded me that it is time for me to start going to the farmer's market again.

malini said...

I rarely make soup and this wants me to make soup, especially today. It feels like winter in NY with cold wind and low temperature.

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks great - I like the radishes. I've never seen radishes in soup before!

Meghan said...

i cant wait to get to the market tomorrow!!!

looks wonderful!

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