Monday, May 19, 2014

One Great . . . green garlic and potato soup

The aroma of green garlic lasts longer than the season. The juicy garlic heads, which sometimes look more like large green onions, appear and disappear within a few weeks each spring.

Good thing you don't have to look very far to find something to do with it. When I spotted this recipe in thew new cookbook "Bold" last winter, I made a note to myself to hang on to it until spring, when the green-garlic window briefly opens.

This really easy weeknight soup takes things you've probably already got on hand. It makes a very thick puree that the French would call a potage. With a green salad and warm bread, it makes a satisfying dinner on a cool spring night.

If you're too late to lay your hands on green garlic, you can use big green onions or those spring onions with big bulbs. Or heck, even fully mature garlic would probably work. Just cook it carefully in the first step so it doesn't burn.

Potato and Young Garlic Soup 

From "Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors," by Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise (Workman, 2013).

2 tablespoons butter
5 cups water, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped young garlic, mostly white bulbs with a little of the green stalks
4 medium-size russet potatoes (about 2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more for garnish
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, garnish

MELT butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the water. Cook about 5 minutes, keeping the heat low so the garlic doesn't burn but becomes very soft.

ADD the potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and remaining water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are very soft and mashable, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

REMOVE the thyme sprigs. Use a potato masher or a sturdy wire whisk to break up the potatoes in a chunky puree. Reheat the soup over medium low just until steaming. Ladle into bowls and drizzle each with a tablespoon of cream and a sprinkling of chives and white pepper. Serve hot.

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings.