This past weekend at the organic farmer’s market up the street from me, the onions were plentiful and looking really good, Spring is in full swing.
One pile of bulb onions caught my eye that I didn’t recognize. It wasn’t green garlic, scallions or ramps and they didn’t look like baby leeks. The grower told me it was an heirloom baby leek. He didn’t know the variety, but explained that he got them from his neighbor’s property last year and they grew quite easily. He figured they were wild baby heirloom leeks and said they were mild and could be eaten raw. (A side note: I’ve been going to this grower for several years, I know his produce and trust his growing methods.)
I couldn’t find much info about them online, just a few pictures from CSA program sites, but no descriptions.
I made pancakes with them, but the leeks had a tinge of garlic to them; they were quite tasty, but they stayed with me all night. So lesson learned, even though wild baby heirloom leeks can be eaten raw, they are better blanched first or cooked.
Fast-forward to a rainy day, the leeks seemed well-suited for a soup.
I washed and sliced the leeks, they didn’t seem gritty but I rinsed them again anyways.
Then I sliced the scallions and half a yellow onion,
…shaved some fennel with my 5 dollar plastic mandoline slicer (I love that thing, but quick public service announcement, if you have one please be extra careful),
…heated some oil in a pot and put them all in (saving a handful of the green parts of the scallions for later) and added some salt and pepper.
I cooked them for a while until they were soft and glassy and added some white wine.
I let that cook down, and then added some cream, let it simmer and then added the rest of the scallions.
After two minutes more cooking time, I pureed it in the blender.
I tasted it, added some more salt and pepper and a little more water too, as it was a touch thick. I topped it with some thinned out goat cheese to add some tang and ate it with a piece of toast. It was really delicious and comforting. The leeks and other onions played nicely with the fennel and the dry Sauvignon Blanc worked well to balance the creaminess of the cooked down leeks.
I took Love and Cupcake’s lead and busted out my grandmother’s china for plate up, (which I normally never use) after being tickled the other day by seeing a bowl of her matzoh ball soup plated up on her grandmother’s wedding china. I don’t think my grandmother ever served us leek soup, but she churned out a ton of matzoh balls in her time (or as my dad called them, hockey pucks) in these bowls.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine, April 2009
Creamy Spring Onion Soup
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch scallions, white and tender green parts, cut in to 1-inch lengths. green tops thinly sliced
3 bunches of baby leeks ( or 2 regular leeks) white and tender green part only, thinly sliced
4 baby fennel bulbs (or one large fennel bulb), thinly sliced
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
- In a large pot, heat the oil. Add all the vegetables, (reserving the green sliced tops of the scallions which will be added later) and season with salt and white pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 15 minutes. Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced to a few tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add the water and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very tender and pale green, 15 minutes. Add the scallion green tops and cook just until softened, 2 minutes.
- Puree the soup in a blender (in batches if necessary) and return it to the pot. Season with salt and white pepper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the milk with the goat cheese. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, drizzle with the creamed goat cheese and serve.
Yield: 4 portions