Spring Vegetable Soup with Charred Croutons
Why This Recipe Works
by Sasha Marx
The arrival of spring means green vegetables are back. And that calls for a celebration or, at the very least, a very good soup. Pureed vegetable soups can be great, but we wanted a recipe that shows off both the bright flavors and crisp textures of the season’s bounty. We based this soup on French barigoule, a vegetable broth fortified with white wine and lots of olive oil, commonly used as a poaching liquid for artichokes. Here, we ditch the artichokes (prepping artichokes is a lot of work, and canned artichokes should be banned), and make the vegetables in the barigoule the star of the show. All vegetables don’t cook at the same rate. To make sure that none of them overcook in the soup, we add them in stages.
What makes this soup a showstopper, though, is its incredibly vibrant green color. We save the fibrous leek tops and fennel fronds from the compost bucket and blanch them with fresh parsley in boiling water spiked with a little baking soda. The soda raises the pH of the water so the greens soften faster. And faster blanching means less bright green chlorophyll is destroyed. After a quick shock in ice water we blend the greens with just water, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and stir the puree into the pot right before serving. The soup is finished with charred croutons that soak up the brothy goodness and provide delicious carb crunch. Pop a bottle of rosé and give spring vegetables their due with this (vegan!) soup.
Photography by Steve Klise