I know it might be wrong to pair a French soup with an Italian Bruschetta, but hopefully I’m far enough away no one will hunt me down and make me change my ways. All I can say is I’d do it again, oh yes, I would. Maybe tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that…
French Spring Soup
This soup is everything good soup should be, rich and earthy yet light and healthy too. The key is to let the leeks and onions slowly caramelize in the butter for as long as you can.
1/4 cup butter
1 pound leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
4 teaspoons salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 pound fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender 20 to 30 minutes. The longer you cook them, the better your soup will be.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until vegetables and rice are tender.
3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 10 servings.
Bruschetta al Salmoriglio
Crunchy, garlicky, and lemony this bruschetta pairs well with spring vegetable soups.
Half a loaf of sliced crusty bread
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried Mediterranean oregano or Greek oregano (Not Mexican oregano)
Very small pinch hot red pepper flakes
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1. Combined everything in a small bowl except the bread and garlic cloves.
2. Grill the bread on both sides until grill marks form and bread is golden. Remove from heat and rub the warm bread on one side with garlic cloves. Brush oil mixture on and serve immediately.
How to wash and prepare leeks from The Veggie Table
Cut off the fibrous root
If the dark-green outer leaves are very tough and/or spotty, remove them
Trim the ends of the remaining leaves
Cut the leek in half length-wise, then slice or chop
Place in a bowl of warm water and swirl around to help the dirt fall to the bottom
Take the leeks out, place in a colander, and rinse again. Don't just pour them into the colander as the dirt at the bottom of the bowl might get trapped in the leaves again.
Cooking with Leeks
Many recipes call for just the "white parts" of leeks, when in fact the light green is just as good and even the dark green is usable if it will be sautéed for at least 5 minutes or so. I nearly always use all three parts in my recipes.
Bruschetta al Salmoriglio recipe p76 "Panini Bruschetta Crostini", By Viana La Place. French Spring Soup recipe from AllRecipes.com. Pictures by Laura Flowers.