Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Recipes to Keep You Running: Spring Green Soup with Lemon and Dill

As I type this, drizzle is falling outside, making everything more green than it already is. Spring has almost given way to summer. We're getting more hot and humid days here than cool ones. The fresh verdant green of the grass and trees has started to turn brassy. Along the lakefront, the population of lake gnats has been mostly eaten by birds (THANK GOD). And local farmers' markets have resumed.
One of my food resolutions this year was to try to cook local and in season as well as healthy. While I still haven't taken the plunge and gotten a CSA box of produce each week, I try to make seasonal choices when I shop. This soup helps me achieve that aim.
The great thing about this soup is that it's incredibly forgiving and versatile. You can put whatever you find at the farmers' market into it, and it will still taste wonderful. I adapted this soup from Anna Thomas's book, Love Soup. I got this book as a Christmas gift this year from my mother in law, and I cook from it constantly. It focuses on seasonal, vegetarian soups with some recipes for breads and desserts thrown in for good measure. I highly recommend it.

Spring Green Soup
1 large leek, chopped (both white and green parts)
2 tbs. olive oil
1 large pinch sea salt
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 bunch asparagus, sliced
2 medium green zucchini, sliced
1 bunch baby spinach leaves, or 1 bunch chopped regular spinach leaves
2 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
3 or 4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 lemon, juiced
cayenne pepper

Wash the leeks and drain them. Chop them. Cook them in a large, nonstick skillet with olive oil and salt over medium heat until tender, 8 to 10 mins.

While the leeks cook, scrub and dice the potatoes and put them in a large soup pot with 4 c. of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 10 mins.

While the potatoes and leeks cook, slice the asparagus and zucchini. Wash the spinach leaves.

Add all green veggies, including the leeks, to the the pot and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking time, add the dill and lemon juice and then a pinch of cayenne.

(Anna Thomas recommends that you let the soup cool slightly and then blend with an immersion blender, but I've skipped that step, partly because I don't own an immersion blender and partly because I like the rustic look and texture of the sliced vegetables in the soup.)

Serve with hunk of crusty french or sourdough baguette, a glass of cool white wine, and friends.

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