Friday, March 19, 2010

The Eatin' o' the Greens

As long as we are in St. Patrick's Day mode, it's worth saying a word or two about the spring tonic version of green soup, which is very very green. The summer version is mostly zucchini, a light concoction with fairly good crowd appeal. The spring version is for true believers only -- mostly kale and chard with whatever broccoli shoots can be gleaned.

I made some recently and have been enjoying the results for lunch. This never gets served at dinner because the Army surplus color of the soup is a little off-putting for some.

Above is an array of kales: Siberian, Redbor, and Lacinato (also known as Tuscan, Black Tuscan, or Dinosaur kale -- for obvious scaly reasons), and also a few shoots of Purple Sprouting and Romanesco broccoli. For connoisseurs of green, this is a delight for the eye. For connoisseurs of green soup, a delight for the palate.

In the last couple of weeks of warmer weather, the chard has been sizing up. There is more than enough anytime we need it. I can't keep track of the varieties any more because it comes up as it pleases and I move the seedlings around wherever a good spot opens up. The palest leaves are most likely Bionda de Lyon. But once it's harvested and headed for the soup pot it's all just yard chard.

There is one bed of Rainbow Lights chard planted from nursery starts that contributed to this batch. The photo captures only part of the spectrum which ranges farther into shades of red and orange.

The soup-making process is the same as for the summer version (see "Zucchini Factory," June 30, 2009, for description of process). But it's not the same soup -- the spring tonic version is so muscular I felt like the pot might get down off the stove and start doing one-handled push-ups.

Here's the final mixture, after blending. Intimidating for some, thrilling for others.

Anything extra goes in the freezer. There is still some summer soup left in there and now there will be plenty more until the zucchini starts coming in in a few months. The eatin' o' the greens goes on all year.

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