Green Garlic and Spinach 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 – the really green parts are too stringy and a bit woody in texture, so I recommend tossing them)
1 qt. vegetable or mild chicken broth (I use organic broth from Whole Foods as I never seem to make my own stock)
8 to 10 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. crème fraîche (optional)
Warm the olive oil and butter in a large and deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic turns soft and translucent. As the garlic cooks, its scent will change from sharp and pungent to sweeter, almost caramel-like and more mellow – don’t worry about looking for that moment, you will definitely smell it.
When the garlic is ready, add the stock, raise the heat, and bring the stock and garlic to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes more. Toss in the spinach and immediately turn off the stove. Let the soup sit for about 5 minutes – no more and then, purée the mixture in a blender. If you are pouring the soup into a blender, you will be working in batches. However, if you’re a little lazy like me, you will use your immersion blender (a tool whose value I can’t even describe!) and blend everything in the pot.
The soup should be a rich shade of green and very smooth.
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.
1. If you are working with a blender, remember never to fill the blender more than a quarter or a third full, because the hot liquid will expand when you turn on the motor.
2. If you think you want to experiment with the dark green leaves, learn from me and toss them before even contemplating their cooking. When you try to blend them whether by an immersion blender or a traditional one, you will find that the stringy parts get caught on the blade and are a real pain to remove.