Wednesday, May 26, 2010

French Spring Soup & Bruschetta al Salmoriglio

It was a drizzly wet beautifully green afternoon and soup full of spring's finest vegetables felt like the perfect evening meal. Jesse, Clara and I sat around the table and quietly enjoyed bowls of warm creamy comfort with crunchy lemony garlic toasts while watching rain run down the windows.

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
Sea salt
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.

I had a little help cleaning the soup pot. Even Rocky likes French Spring Soup.

Bruschetta al Salmoriglio recipe p76 "Panini Bruschetta Crostini", By Viana La Place. French Spring Soup recipe from Pictures by Laura Flowers.


Cyndy said...

I can't see anything wrong with this pairing. I think with my tastebuds, therefore we are simpatico! Love this post and I've copied the recipe. Thanks!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

If Rocky likes it so would we: I am just kidding because looking at the ingredient list there is everything I love in your soup, and by all means pair it with whatever you like.

Gingerspark said...


Monet said...

I'm all about soup. Thankfully, living in Colorado, I can enjoy it quite often. This recipe looks perfect though for summer, and I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

Levi said...

The soup looks really yum! I may have to make this one. I don't know what I'll do with 10 servings. Oh, yes, I do know. I'll eat 5 of them for lunch and 5 for dinner.
No problem.

Anonymous said...

Laura, this is the most beautiful soup i have seen in a long time. Lets all hunt you down.. not for the reason of pairing french with italian, but for your food! Heck, i would settle for Clara's lunches!

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

This soup with all those veggies and butter sounds divine! Over the top with the Bruschetta. Nice work! xo

Cristie said...

Oh, what a great soup for spring. I have a fresh bunch of asparagus that needs fixing, this would be perfect. I love the picture of Rocky :)

Sue said...

I love soup that you can really sink your teeth into, especially with crusty, crunchy bread! Delicious!

I wish it would rain around here so that I wouldn't have to water the lawn:)

Laura, I love the photo of Rocky!

Joanne said...

I say we live in a globalized world. Combine whatever you want! That soup looks like total comfort food!

Kate said...

Can I just say I LOVE your blog - love all the recipes, love the photos - thank you!!!

Judy said...

This soup looks divine, as does the bruschetta! I need to try this soup! :)

shaz said...

mmm..soup..mmm. I would hunt you down, not to make you change your ways, but to hopefully get to share some of that soup and the yummy bread!

Katherine said...

This soup looks great! Rich and creamy, mmmm. I've never cooked with leeks, so I'd be a bit intimidated.

Levi said...

I left work early yesterday, picked up the ingredients and made the soup and now I'm going to eat some for lunch. Forgot to make the brushetta (on purpose).

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