Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Okay, I'm back--with a new hard drive, a sunny day, and a recipe for sorrel soup.
Go into the garden and pick a dishpan full of fresh sorrel leaves, 1 large scallion, and 5 or 6 spears of asparagus (or acquire them by nefarious or commercial means). 
Root around in your cupboards and find 1 onion and 5 red potatoes. Peel and slice the cupboard vegetables. Wash and dry the garden vegetables. 
In a soup pot, brown the onion in 3 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with salt. Add the sorrel and stir until wilted. Toss in the sliced potatoes and let everything cook together for 10 minutes. 
Add water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil; then cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender (roughly 40 minutes). 
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces, and chop up the scallion. 
Run the soup through a food mill, using the coarsest strainer. Return it to the soup pot, add salt and pepper as needed, and reheat to the boiling point. 
Add the asparagus to the soup; continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the scallions and serve. 
This soup is excellent with sides of home-fried tortilla chips and a radish-turnip-carrot slaw.
Suggested experimental options: (1) Instead of a potato-based soup, make an Italian-style rice-chicken broth-parmesan version. Marcella Hazan cookbooks will give you the basic rice-soup-with-greens pattern. (2) Start with garlic instead of onion. Substitute chervil or what-have-you for the scallions. (3) Replace the sorrel with spinach and add the juice of half a lemon. (4) Add asparagus stems to the initial brew, run them through the food mill with everything else, and reserve the tips for the final serving prep. (5) Serve with a small dab of freshly made salsa. (6) Dice the onions and potatoes, mince the greens, and don't puree the soup. (7) Make the original recipe but add a half-cup of heavy cream when you mix in the asparagus.

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