Radish Greens Soup with Spring Garlic

 

Opening day at the Westport Farmers' Market at Imperial Avenue. Open Thursdays from 10-2.
Westport Farmers' Market at Imperial Avenue. Open Thursdays from 10-2.

Cooking with the seasons is never easier than in the spring and summer. Tender, fresh vegetables cook quickly and only require a simple preparation to taste fantastic. Visit a farm, farmers’ market, or local green grocer and buy a bunch of radishes with their greens, preferably organic, and some spring garlic, then transform them into an appetizer and side dish that are delicious and satisfying.

Radish green soup. When kids ask for seconds, you know you're onto something good.
Radish greens soup. When kids ask for seconds, you know you're onto something good.

Spring garlic looks like a cross between a scallion and a leek, and all three are members of the Allium family of foods known for their excellent health benefits. Spring garlic is simply young garlic that has not yet formed a bulb, and therefore is milder in taste than mature garlic. If you can’t find spring garlic, simply double the amount of radish greens.

Radishes cooked in butter and salt turn pale pink and purple and become sweet and tender. For kids, I even drizzle on a little local honey.
Radishes cooked in butter and salt turn pale pink and purple and become sweet and tender. For kids, trying drizzling on a little local honey.

Rather than serving the radishes raw, trying cooking them for an entirely different taste experience. Wash, trim and quarter the radishes, then cook them in some butter and salt until tender. They turn pale pink and quite sweet tasting. Top with a mild fresh herb like chervil.

On a really hot day, try a radish with butter and salt sandwich; it’s a classic.

Radish Greens Soup With Spring Garlic

Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Greens and stems from one large bunch of farm-fresh radishes
  • 3-4 spring garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

1.     Remove the radishes where they meet the stems using a knife or pair of kitchen scissors. Discard any brown or damaged leaves. Wash the greens in several changes or water, then rough chop to 2 inch lengths. Reserve.

2.     Wash, trim and quarter radishes for cooking or slice for a salad or soup topping. Set aside.

3.     On a cutting board, trim root end and tough green leaves from spring garlic, then wash well. Return to clean cutting board and rough slice white, light green and any tender dark green parts. Reserve.

4.     On a cutting board, peel and halve the onion lengthwise and cut half the onion into ¼ inch slices.

5.     Heat olive oil over medium setting in a medium saucepan, add onion slices and spring garlic (if using), then cover to sweat with a sprinkling of salt.

6.     When vegetables have turned translucent, after 3-4 minutes, add two cups of vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil.

7.     Add coarsely chopped radish greens, lower heat, and simmer until tender, about ten minutes.

8.     Puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste the soup, and if it’s not quite bursting with flavor, add a little salt and pepper.

9.     Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a few radish slices if you’re not cooking them.

Recipe and photo are property of the Fairfield Green Food Guide and may not be used without prior written permission.

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