First of all there is such thing as too much pepper. And salt. But neither of these things will matter if you have the right soup, in this case garlic, chive, and spinach soup. You see, the fish and potato recipe called for “liberal” amounts of salt and pepper. I am quite sure you can (eventually) have too much salt, but I sort of thought you could never have too much pepper as long as it was not measured in cups. If I had a lighter touch this post might be about a baked salt cod with potatoes, parsley, and pepper.
As it is, I have a silky, bright green, spring soup. Please note that this is not spinach soup with garlic and chives, rather garlic and chive soup with spinach. Garlic is the main ingredient, and, cooked in butter, it is delightfully present but not overwhelming. You will probably have garlic breath, but not for a long time. Lucky me, I have chives growing on the back porch; amazingly they popped up two weeks ago and we have been devouring them ever since. Chives are readily available in stores or well-stocked farmers markets this time of year. Spinach is also just popping up at local farm markets.
This soup is pureed to pure silk, with a light texture. It has a well balanced flavor, and it satisfying without being too rich.
The cream garnish is made of cream combined with whole milk yogurt for tang. This is a poor man’s creme fraiche. If you have the real thing by all means spoon it in, or dilute until drippy. You can use it to make a splashy eighties presentation. Or you can try and write your name. Easier for Brians, harder for Elizabeths.
Garlic, Chive, and Spinach Soup (adapted from an Orangette recipe)
(3 or 4 servings)
3 tablespoons butter and a splash of olive oil
1 bulb of garlic, smashed, skin removed, and sliced
1/2 cup diced chives
4-5 cups tender spinach
1 quart vegetable stock
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon whole milk yogurt
In a small bowl, combine the cream and yogurt and set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat until the butter starts to froth. Add the garlic. Stir frequently and watch closely. You do not want the garlic to burn or turn brown. When it is soft and glistens, pour in the stock, turn up heat, and bring everything to a boil. Then turn down and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the chives and spinach, and turn off the heat. Wait five minutes, then carefully puree the soup in at least three small batches.
Return the soup to the pot. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the cream mixture. Taste, and adjust the salt. Turn heat to low, stir, and gently reheat the soup. Serve with splashes of the cream mixture or your guests’ names.