Everyone's Cooking Purple Sprouting Broccoli...

Picture courtesy of www.thinkvegetables.co.uk
...so, I'm cooking Spring Greens! Not a deliberate act of culinary defiance you understand, it's just I had a huge bag full of Spring Greens in my fridge that have been crying out for use.
However, people do tend to overlook the humble Spring Greens, simply because they don't have the fancy purple flowers or are under the misconception that it tastes just like cabbage. This is a huge shame because, in my opinion, the Spring Greens have a richer yet Spring-like flavour than the Sprouting Broccoli. Broccoli is Broccoli after all.
This particular Brassica are very tender, and when finely chopped, require little more than 3 or 4 minutes rapid boiling to retain their vivid emerald colour and slight chewiness.
Not only this, but they are high in Vitamin C, Folic Acid and fibre, so are an excellent source of nutrition. Kids that normally balk at cabbage might also prefer this milder version.
Because Paul and I are always trying out different recipes, we like to to take the odd evening out, to allow the equilibrium of our stomachs to return to normal. So, I had already decided to make soup last night.
Soup is the great restorer, sometimes it seems that there is no problem that can't be solved at the bottom of a soup bowl. Of course, this isn't true, but for those few minutes that you spend supping nourishing broth, you can at least dream that it is.
This simple recipe, - just three ingredients - comes from Elisabeth Luard's wonderfully evocative book, The Food of Spain and Portugal and is called Caldo Verde or Green Broth. Traditionally it would use a Portuguese Brassica, Galegas, but the recipe suggested using Curly Kale or Spring Greens.
The key to the success of the dish, according to Luard, is cutting the greens "as fine as angels hair" to ensure that it is not tough, and this is the only time-consuming part of the recipe.
The final flavour, despite the minimal ingredients, is a delicately flavoured broth, which reminded me of something my mum used to feed me when I was poorly as a child. It has a peppery yet, comforting flavour, slightly starchy, from the potatoes, with the ferrous tang of the greens and a final grind of of sea salt.
The whole broth is brought together with a large slug of Olive Oil and served with nothing more than some crusty bread and perhaps a few dots of pepper sauce on the top.
N.B. I missed last weeks Weekend Herb Blogging but I am right back on track this weekend with this delicious, nutritious soup. This weekends event is being held by the lovely Katie over at Thyme for Cooking. Thanks Katie!
CALDO VERDE serves 4
Ingredients:
4 Potatoes, floury, peeled and diced
1 Large Onion, peeled and finely sliced
450g Spring Greens (or Curly Kale) cut finely
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
METHOD:
Put 2 litres of water (the original recipe suggests Spring Water, but I used tap) in a large pan, with the diced Potatoes and sliced Onions, bring up to the boil and then add plenty of salt.
Turn down to a brisk simmer and cook until the potatoes are totally tender. Mash some of the potatoes into the broth to thicken it, add some salt and pepper and the olive oil. Bring up to the boil again and add the finely chopped Brassica. Rapidly boil for about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and taste once more for seasoning. Serve, steaming hot, in large bowls with some bread and pepper sauce.

22 comments:

Jeanne said...

Ooooh, I love spring greens! I had never heard of them until I came to the UK but now I often cook them. I usually steam them till al dente, then stir in some garlic and gorgonzola and a splash of cream - absolutely heavenly and realyl quick. Your caldo verde sounds wonderfully simple and tasty :)

Lydia said...

What a lovely, light soup! I'll have to get to Whole Foods and look for spring greens, as there's nothing like that in my little local market. I could try this with the spinach that's sitting in my fridge, though.

Julia said...

What a great idea!

Homesick Texan said...

I've been waiting for sorrel to appear at my market to make soup, but since it hasn't arrived yet, and there is an abundance of curly kale, I'll try this instead!

Ulrike said...

I am helpless, what are Spring greens in German? If I look for Brassica oleracea in German I get pictures from cabbage and kale. Any ideas anyone?

The dish looks good, but I won't cook it with curly kale.

ros said...

I like spring greens but I rarely buy them now since a pack from the farmers market is huge and half of it inevitably goes bad. If I ever find a pack small enough to fit in my current fridge I might try this.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That sounds so very good. How fun to dream of solving the world's problems at least but for those few minutes that you spend supping this or any soup.
Thanks for a lovely recipe and great thoughts Freya!

Kelly-Jane said...

That looks and sounds really uplifting and restorative :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Freya, this is delicious!

Caldo verde is huge here too, at least in the area I live - Brazil was a Portuguese colony for so many years and Portuguese food is a big part of our cooking.

sher said...

I love spring greens, grew up eating them. Our family always gets very excited about them. They even go out and picked wild spring greens. That picture has me salivating!

Joyce said...

Now your cooking on my burners!
What a lovely dish - my compliments to the chef!

Kathryn said...

That looks so light and lovely!

Oh and I like spring greens, too:).

Kathryn x

Kathryn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaun said...

Freya, love - And it is isn't purple-sprouting broccoli, it's cavolo nero. My favorite greens are bok choy, spinach, and a Chinese green which is translated by Eric's Taiwanese mother as "dragon's beard". They are all great sauteed with garlic, my favorite way to have greens, but, like you, I love them in soups too. Your caldo verde looks substantial and life-affirming. And I love the purple bowl, darling!

Sig said...

Freya, the caldo verde looks wonderful.... it looks so light and I love the color of that bowl...

Gattina said...

I also love anything soupy or green, feel like it can wash out my winter-bloat =)

Saffron said...

Wonderful and healthy recipe!Lately I need healthy food!
Baci

s'kat said...

I've been in a greens mood myself these days. Love it with the polenta and monkfish!

Katie said...

It's so wonderful to get all these lovely fresh green things after dull winter....but, what are 'spring greens'? Or is it just a generic term for all the great stuff that's growing now?

Chubbypanda said...

They're great in pastas as well. A little bit of bacon, garlic, and white wine are all you need.

Kalyn said...

It does sound just wonderful. It's definitely a good time to be cooking greens.

Lisa said...

Oh that looks right up my alley, and so simple. I adore all kinds of greens.