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That easy

It’s hard to know what to say about soup. I mean, it’s soup. It’s a liquid, sort of, but it’s eaten with a spoon. It’s not a steak, or chocolate, or fancy cheese, or an ice cream sundae. It’s what people eat when they’re sick or miserable or old, wearing dentures that clack like sad, weary castanets. Soup is a hard sell. But if I could, I would eat it every day. Sometimes, actually, I do. I never get tired of soup. I know that it’s April, and that it’s springtime and so on, and that we’re rapidly approaching the end of soup season, but I want to tell you about one in particular, the one I ate every day last week. Anyway, between you and me, I don’t really believe in soup season. It’s always soup season. Also, it SNOWED here this weekend. SNOWED.

Before I say anything else, I feel that I should warn you about the photograph that follows. It’s just my lunch, and it’s not scary, per se, but as soups go, it looks pretty intense. In fact, if I stare at it long enough, I start to worry that the Swamp Thing might surface at any second, leap out of the bowl, and come after me with the pointy end of that spoon.

Which, come to think of it, probably wouldn’t be that bad, because with him out of the bowl, I’d have all the soup to myself. And there are always more spoons in the drawer.

I am in love with this soup. So in love. I first got the idea for it last month, during our road trip to San Francisco, when we ate lunch at Zuni Café and happened to order something humbly described as a “spinach and green garlic soup.” I didn’t expect it to be anything special; it just sounded healthy and clean, like something you’d want to eat after being cooped up in a car for three days. And what the waiter set down seemed, by all appearances, to be just that. It was a bright, saturated shade of green - almost lime green, really - and it looked alarmingly like wheatgrass juice. But it smelled rich and velvety, so I dipped my spoon. It was mellow and sweetly vegetal, delicate and earthy, with a soft, musky whiff of garlic. It was delicious. It tasted, I thought, the way the color green would probably taste if you could soften it in butter, purée it with stock, and serve it in a bowl. It was gorgeous in all sorts of ways.

But then, of course, we had to come home, and San Francisco being some 800-odd miles away, I started to get a little desperate for that soup. I usually prefer to focus my desperation on things like chocolate, or cold beers on hot days, but this was getting rough. So I went out in search of green garlic. I’d never bought it before, to tell you the truth, and it required a little education. Green garlic, I learned, is just young garlic, the plant harvested in its shoot stage, before the bulbous root end swells into what we recognize as a head of garlic. Outside of farmers’ markets, it’s not easy to come by, and it’s only available for a little while, sometime between March and May. Green garlic shoots look like scallions or small leeks, but they taste like garlic at its most delicate and sweet. Sometimes their stalks are streaked with pink, which makes them look impossibly cute, as though they were shy and blushing. I saw some at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, but they were 12 dollars per pound, so I waited. And then I waited some more. And then I spotted a few small, slender bunches on one of the tables at the farmers’ market. And most notably, they were only two dollars each. So I snatched up three bunches, and then I made soup.

I’m not usually good at recreating dishes that I’ve eaten somewhere else, but this time, I had a good feeling about it. I mean, I had spinach, green garlic, butter, and stock: all I had to do, I figured, was get out of the way and let them do what they do. So I did. I sliced and stirred, and lo and behold, there was the soup. It’s almost never that easy, but I swear, it was. So, to celebrate, I ate it for four days straight. And then I made a second batch. And so long as the season stays definitively soupy, and probably even if it doesn’t, I think there’ll be a third one too.

Spinach and Green Garlic Soup

The green garlic shoots I’ve been using are fairly small and slim, like scallions, and they’ve been wonderfully mild and sweet. If yours are larger, they might be a bit more pungent, but their flavor should mellow nicely with cooking. And if you can’t find green garlic, I’ll bet you could get a similar flavor with some regular garlic - much less, though - and some chopped leek.

Also, if you’re looking for a decent store-bought vegetable stock, you might try this one. I make my own stock when I can, but sometimes, you know, eh. So this is a handy thing to have in the pantry. Its ingredients are all natural and non-weird, and unlike a lot of other store-bought vegetable stocks, it doesn’t contain tomato, which can taste too strong for preparations like this.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ to ¾ lb. green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 qt. vegetable or mild chicken broth
8 to 10 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. crème fraîche

Warm the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is soft and translucent. Also, as the garlic cooks, you should notice that its scent changes from raw and sharp to sweeter and more mellow; that’s what you’re after. When the garlic is ready, add the stock, raise the heat a bit, and bring it to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove. Let it sit for 5 minutes – not too long, or the spinach will lose its color – and then, working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender. (Remember never to fill the blender more than a quarter or a third full, because the hot liquid will expand when you turn on the motor.) The soup should be a rich shade of green and very smooth.

Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Add 1 Tbsp. crème fraîche and another pinch or two of salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Serve warm or hot, with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of crème fraîche, if you like.

Yield: 4 servings


Anonymous andrea said...

Molly, thank you for this! I was just at my neighborhood farmers' market yesterday, eyeing the green garlic but afraid to buy it, and unsure of what i would do with it--I will be sure to go back next week to try this lovely-sounding soup!

10:10 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Antonio Tahhan said...

Molly, I love the green soup! I will have to keep my eyes peeled for green garlic at the Ithaca farmer's market.
I also go through soup phases when I can't seem to have enough; and often resort to their chilled counterparts during the warmer seasons.

10:13 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger marie said...

ooh that sounds delicious molly! i am a soup person as well.. and i also love green at the moment too :)

10:13 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger House of Jules said...

I sincerely wish I had not read this post just before going to bed. I will surely dream of this delicious-looking-and-sounding soup.
House of Jules

10:18 PM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Paulina said...

Wow this sounds so delicious, and ah! Zuni Cafe! How I miss home and Zuni Cafe. I've only eaten there once but ever since then I've had this longing to go back and it only grows and grows and grows...!

10:25 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Lou @ The Higher Nest said...

I must admit to being terrified of anything that green. But oh, soup. Soup is good...

10:29 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger kickpleat said...

next time i'm at the farmer's market, green garlic is going into my bag. that soup looks perfect for this god awful weather and it looks like it might just whip that lingering cold i have into submission once and for all.

10:38 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger indigo said...

Oh! I wish I'd had this recipe last week... I had a gorgeous bunch of blushing green garlic from the farmers' market & a pillowcase worth of spinach from the Berkeley Bowl. Tomorrow is farmers' market day again so hopefully the green garlic will still be there.

Also my all-purpose blog has lately taken to frequent food postings (especially salads), in case you want to check it out: indigo schmindigo

10:45 PM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Leah said...

Good thing I'm spending so much time at the farmers' market these days. Ahem. I know what I'll be making for dinner one night this week. Of course, knowing my luck, I'll finally get to make it when it's no longer in the 50s and 40s (seriously, isn't it April?) and instead when it gets back into the 70s. DEAR SPRING, PLEASE COME TO STAY.

But no matter. Regardless of the weather, it'll be me and my green soup and my Yehuda matzo and my farm-fresh butter and some strawberries and... um... well, you never know what you can pick up at the farmers' market these days. xo

10:49 PM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Chris said...

I loves me some soups.
I tend to gravitate to "cream of" type soups but this looks wonderful.
Given my geographic local I doubt I will be able to acquire green garlic.
I will be on the look out. Looks wonderful.
My last soup was Cream of Artichoke Hearts. It had the garlic confit from T. Keller's Bouchon cookbook. I wonder if that would serve in place of the green garlic...


11:29 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Sylvie said...

I'm a soup lover too and to me that looks pretty good!

11:33 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger lilalia said...

In Luebeck there is a small restaurant that only serves soup atlunchtime. The owner uses organic local produce and has a real talent with spices. She is only open from 11-15 o'clock on workdays. The place is so successful she takes off every summer in her camper. Every lunchtime there is a lineup out onto the street, which is highly unusual here.

1:09 AM, April 22, 2008  
OpenID aimelina said...

I basically feel exactly the same as you about soup.

3:39 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Koka said...

Hello Molly,
I´ve been reading your blog for some time now...and it´s getting closer and closer to me:)digging in almost in a daily routine.

I´ll say it simple.
This intense colour attracted me to read the entire post. In this part of Europe where I live in, a meal is not considered a full course meal if soup and salad are not included. So naturaly I love soups, they come to me as something one eats every day..who can question that?!
But than the beautiful mixture of habbits round the world come out..like in this blogs comments:)

Thank you for that. Food realy does conects us all.

I also love green garlic...gomes so natural to me too..opens a whole new perspective of the Garlic.

Can´t wait to try this green monster soup :)
Dober tek.


3:41 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Aran said...

Another lovely post. I make a spinach soup similar to this. I call spinach puree and I throw all kinds of vegetables in it, carrots, leeks, spinach, squash... then puree it with a little olive oil... I always feel good when I get to eat that. Thank you for sharing.

4:44 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Amy said...

Molly, I also love soups any time of year, and this is going on my "to cook" list -- I know we'll be getting some green garlic in another month or so at the Farmer's Market. Great idea, and looks delicious!

5:27 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous jill said...

Love your site... feels like home everytime i see those pictures. May I ask what camera do you use?

5:35 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger hannah said...

is brandon a soup guy? because sadly most of the guys i know around here are not and don't even consider soup a meal, but a sad starter. i am firmly in the soup everyday camp and this looks pretty much perfect. maybe with a little piece of bread with cheese toasted under the broiler? yum...

6:23 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous blair said...

Yesterday was the perfect Seattle day for soup,no? This looks amazing, it may actually grace my table tonight. xo

6:36 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Kim/2 Kids said...

I love soup and this looks delicious. Have you tried Nonna's Soup Kitchen in Seattle? It is nothing exoctic but a good hearty choice of a dozen soups each day. It is on the corner of 55th and 35th ave ne.

6:48 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Rachel said...

What a delightful convergence of events! I read your blog all the time--its definitely my favorite--and am about to post about a failed soup of this past weekend on my own blog (cheeseordeath.blogspot.com). Now I can direct my readers to your wonderful soup!

7:16 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Kim said...

Oh, how I could have soup every day. The husband though asked me not to make anymore soup for awhile. I said, yes. But I might have to go back on my word for this recipe. I also need to keep my eyes open at the grocer instead of racing by and missing on gems liked green garlic. Thanks.

7:25 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger detroit dog said...

We love soup, and I make it usually twice weekly no matter the season. All kinds, and vegan.

Old? I hear I'm the new 40!

7:27 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

This looks delicious, and I love the color! We've been making something similar with nettles; they're very green, too, and very peppery. Hooray for soup and spring greens.

7:56 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Ellie said...

This looks marvelous but I doubt I could find green garlic in my neck of the woods. Do you think I could use a combination of regular garlic and shallots or green onions, to the same effect?

8:05 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous EB of www.spicedish.typepad.com said...

I heard about the snow... hey at least a great soup came out of it yeah? I was wavering on where to go to dinner tonight too... you made up my mind for me. Zuni it is. Wheeee!

8:52 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Jennifer said...

spring/summer is just the start of the "other" soup season: chilled soups, and oh, so many wonderful ones come to mind. bright colors, sweet and savory alike! minted strawberry, gazpacho, watermelon ... bring it on!

9:28 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Lulu said...

This looks great! I obsessivley collect soup recipes because it is my favorite thing to cook and eat. When I was in the Czech Republic I counted on soup (polevka) because you really can't go wrong with it!

9:38 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hey Molly,
It's a cool, gray day here in Oklahoma and would you believe that I was just making a pot of Rick Bayless's tortilla soup (another Okie, I might add) and thought I'd take a little break to see what Orangette was up to, and much to my surprise, she was making soup. I can't tell you how much my daughter and I love soup. My family fondly refer's to us as the soup Nazi's. I even have a (much neglected) blog about soup, which I'm planning on updating soon. But there's never enough time. Now, I've got more soup to make! Thanks for the inspiration.

10:04 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous roohbaroo said...

this looks beautiful! i wonder if green garlic is the same as garlic scapes? we got lots of those at last year's CSA and i hope we get more this year! they were wonderful.

10:31 AM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds *so good*... And I love the color!


12:34 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Joye said...

Jesus, that sounds amazing! I completely sympathize with your need to recreate Zuni dishes. I've been cooking my way through the Zuni Cookbook (my favorite cookbook in the whole world, and if someone took it from me I'd cry), and I love the way their food tastes. You described it very well: the whole aesthetic is 'get out of the way and let the food do its thing'. I probably can't get my hands on green garlic here, though. Do you think scallions would be close, or is this one a no-go for me?

1:11 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Well, would you look at this?! We're quite the crowd of soup fans. I am so proud. And I feel much less sheepish now about my geeky love for the stuff. Thank you, guys.

Chris, I haven't tried Thomas Keller's garlic confit, but I'll bet it would delicious here. I mean, how could it be bad?

Lilalia, I love the sound of that soup cafe! I used to go to a similar place in Paris called the Bar a Soupes. So good. One of our friends wants to open a soup cafe in Seattle, and I hope she does, because I would go there ALL THE TIME.

Aran, I love the sound of your "spinach puree." Now I feel all fired up to experiment even further with this soup...

Jill, I use a Nikon D70s with a Nikkor 50 mm lens. I hardly know how to work the thing - really, I just point and shoot - but I love it.

Hannah, you know, I think you're onto something. When I was writing this post, I felt nervous because I kept thinking of all these friends of ours who don't like soup. But, now I'm realizing that they're all men! All of them! Brandon, luckily, is with me in the soup camp - although he doesn't need it quite like I do - but otherwise, yeah, I get the feeling that there's something funny about the Y chromosome and soup. Hmph.

Kim/2 Kids, until you mentioned it, I hadn't even heard of Nonna's Soup Kitchen! How could this be? So wrong.

Ellie and Joye, there are definitely ways to make do without green garlic here. I think a good substitute would be a combination of regular garlic and either leeks, scallions, or maybe shallot. It would be hard to go wrong, I'll bet.

Michelle, I love that you have an entire blog devoted to soup. A girl after my own heart.

Good question, Roohbaroo. Green garlic and garlic scapes are similar in flavor, but I think they're different parts of the garlic plant. Green garlic is essentially a whole immature garlic plant, but scapes are curly flower stalks that grow from particular types of garlic. I think. Here is a good explanation. I'll bet you could use garlic scapes in this soup, though - no problem.

1:51 PM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous kendra said...

Oh, we have a whole bunch of green garlic in the garden now and I'm all charged up on eating lots of greens right now so I'll have to make this soon. Maybe tonight, its supposed to rain.

2:03 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Christine said...

it seems to be ramp season too - I understand they have a garlicky/oniony flavor too - maybe they would work for this soup - I think I'll try on Saturday, when I can check out the farmers market!

2:16 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Nicole said...

I think soup is one of the easiest and most satisfying things to make. And so easy. Almost anything goes. And yours... with the creme fraiche! YUM! I recently got some of that garlic at my farmers market too.

2:34 PM, April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Karen said...

Molly, I have been lurking for a while, but soup has brought me out of the shadows! I am totally with you--there is no such thing as soup season. Have passed up the green garlic at the farmers market so far this spring for lack of a plan. No more. Thanks for a great blog, and happy soup making!

7:07 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Jenny RInzler said...

I'm one of those lucky people who lives in San Francisco, (actually about 4 blocks from Zuni) so I eat green garlic a lot when it's available. Try it in scrambled eggs-it's delicious. Just saute for a moment before putting the eggs in.

7:38 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Karen said...

I could not agree with you more. Literally, I could eat soup every day. Recently I made a parsnip pear and garlic soup that knocked my socks off. I just purchased a hand blender and my life has changed! I can't believe how easy soup is now.

We belong to a CSA, so I should ask the farmer if she'll reserve some green garlic for me. Thanks for this fantastic recipe.


4:02 AM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger chipima said...

Your soup looks amazing Molly - thanks for sharing the recipe. I LOVE soup and eat it every day in winter. We've had a few warm spring days that almost tricked me into ditching the soups for salads, but I knew it was too early. And today is another great soup day: wet, grey and miserable.

4:24 AM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Christoph said...

I just planted my first batch of spinach and I'm going to give this a try. Also this time of the year I like to make soups with sorrel,ramps, chives and salad with young dandelion leafs.

6:12 AM, April 23, 2008  
OpenID adreamofeu said...

delurking a bit to suggest other good recipes for green garlic: a potato and leek gratin, a cream of asparagus soup, your favorite quiche, and can replace regular garlic in your favorite recipes-- it may taste a bit different, perhaps, mellower.

it's one of my favorite things about spring--the abundance of green garlic up to summer, and sometimes again in the fall.

6:15 AM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Food, she thought. said...

I read this posting during a bout of insomnia last night and am heading over to my Whole Foods to look for green garlic, or ramps to make myself this soup for supper. Am trying to get inspired by a side dish...

8:35 AM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Juanita Castillo said...

HI! From our blog, http://elbuhoteve.blogspot.com/, we give you the price "Brillante Weblog 2008" and we invite you to visit us... Hope to see you soon and excuse my english...

1:10 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger cassie said...

earlier this week i recreated a soup i had enjoyed at a restaurant as well and i have been loving it all week for lunch. my husband, not so much. next week i'll have to try your soup!

3:25 PM, April 23, 2008  
Anonymous Dana McCauley said...

Ha! Good post. You remind me of my mother. She is a die hard soup lover. It is very rare to go into her kitchen without finding homemade soup on the boil or in the refrigerator ready to be reheated.

She is also notorious for eating the same soup for several days on end. As she says, 'you can't get too much of a good thing.'

4:20 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Kimi Harris said...

I loooove soup, myself, and I love how this looks so simple to make, and uses fresh ingredients. Thank you for sharing, I will have to try this when I am able to get my hands on green garlic.

6:01 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for the recipe, Molly. My boy's been bugging me to make a green garlic soup ever since he saw a version in my copy of the Chez Panisse Cookbook last October. Needless to say, it's been a long wait. Hopefully this version will satisfy him!
Oh, and by the way, I have made the Casa Moro Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad literally every single week since I got around to trying it in December, and I tear up at the thought that I'm going to have to let it go for awhile very very soon. Your site has spawned some crazy addictions at my place.

6:11 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Princess said...

Got here through Yvonne of (GrowYourWritingBusiness) and I am glad I did. Creamy soup of garlic and spinach? Just the perfect combination for me - and a sprinkling of crunchy bacon bits maybe.

6:36 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Katelyn said...

I'm making this soup as I type (we're at the garlic and stock simmering phase) -- it SMELLS so GOOD!! I didn't have green garlic, nor could I wait until the farmers market to buy any, so regular garlic will have to do. I did have my own chicken stock to use. It was the vivid green that attracted me to this recipe, at a time when I'm craving FRESH vegetables (and cake, but that's beside the point here!).


7:33 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Fleagirl said...

It reminds me of a lovely, simple spinach soup I had at a Tibetan spot in Berkeley. But I don't think their's had any garlic...and certainly no creme fraiche. Oh hooray to be me, living where I can pop into a farmer's market daily in the spring for green garlic. Off I go, and then it's spinach soup for EVERYone!

9:34 PM, April 23, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, another lurker who has finally got around to posting a comment. I have never come across green garlic before in the UK but after doing some research on the internet I now wonder if it is what we refer to as wild garlic here which is currently in season. I'm really tempted to try this soup but I'll have to try with a green garlic substitute.


4:39 AM, April 24, 2008  
Blogger Julietta said...

Green garlic is also called garlic scapes (at least at my farmer's market here in NY it is). Last year I sauteed a big bunch of scapes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces, with spinach, and added it to yogurt and made a yummy dip. Mmmmmmm. But your soup looks better.

1:46 PM, April 24, 2008  
Blogger Ellen said...

For more green soup recipes, check out the January 1999 recipes in the archive at www.vegetarianepicure.com.

4:53 PM, April 24, 2008  
Blogger Seminterrato said...

Up here in Canada, we call green garlic ail des bois or wild leek. It actually is an endangered species protected by strict laws. Just last week someone got a 3000 $ fine for poaching green garlic. It was on the news an all. Police everywhere. People can have green garlic in their possession in small quantities for personal consumption but it is illegal to serve it in restaurants. I love you Molly.

5:18 PM, April 24, 2008  
Blogger Chris said...

Molly -- that looks very similar to a cilantro soup I made last year (and had a heck of a time photographing)!

Cilantro Soup

We [Heart] All Things Cilantro, so we really enjoyed it. This one sounds good as well.

6:48 PM, April 24, 2008  
Anonymous ariana said...

Well I just have to say that this soup turned out great!

I cook for a vegetarian family once a week so I am always on the look out for new interesting things to make for them. I saw your post and stored it as a possibility.

My ritual is to see what they have in the pantry when I get to their house and then tailor the menu to that. They also have a large garden in their backyard, so I sometimes use things from there as well.

Lately the garden has been pretty barren but I had a peek to see if anything was ready, and by golly the green garlic was!

So spinach and green garlic soup I made. As nice as your photos are the soup is just like a green jewel in person. Thanks for the great recipe!

7:24 PM, April 24, 2008  
Blogger KT said...

Hi Molly -- gorgeous photo, and i'm definitely intrigued. Is this soup filling enough for a meal by itself? What else did you serve with it? Just curious... Another thought, I wonder if you could make it cold like gazpacho. It seems like the flavor would be refreshing but soup in Atlanta at 90 degrees can be a scary proposition. :)

4:54 AM, April 25, 2008  
Anonymous Eileen said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful, and we are still in soup season here in Minnesota. We're getting snow tonight!

Eileen (passions to pastry)@
www. livingtastefully.com

12:39 PM, April 25, 2008  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Oh wow. At first I thought it was a pea soup but I suppose that would be thicker and a lighter green. Spinach and green garlic don't sound wonderful to me but after reading your post, you've convinced me to want to try it someday! Do you have any good pea soup recipes though too?

2:34 PM, April 25, 2008  
Blogger Melanie said...

Hey Molly, if you haven't already, you should check out this book; it's all about soup: The Soup Peddler by David Ansel. It's a great read has some season's-over soup recipes. For soup lover's, it would be especially meaningful.

11:40 PM, April 25, 2008  
Blogger TinaB said...

The good news is that you can probably cultivate your own garlic shoots by putting toothpicks into a white bulb of garlic cloves and putting its root end into (over?) a small glass of water and letting it sprout.

And dump a few shoots at Whole Foods into a bag and let Whole Food weigh them. Bet they weigh almost nothing.

2:08 PM, April 26, 2008  
Anonymous michelle @ TNS said...

i think i might need to make this with ramps. and then again with spinach, once my spinach grows in enough to be picked.

soup rocks my socks.

8:29 PM, April 26, 2008  
Blogger ella at the river said...


I am soup lover! This recipe sounds fantastic! I am wondering, do you have a special recipe for or approach to crème fraîche?


6:28 AM, April 27, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Elizabeth, as it happens, I do have a recipe for creme fraiche! We've made it a few times now, and it keeps beautifully and is SO much cheaper than the store-bought stuff. Love that.

Here's what we do: combine 2 cups heavy cream (do not use the ultra-pasteurized kind, or the kind with a lot of additives; look for just cream) and 2 Tbsp. buttermilk in a glass jar. Partially cover the jar, and let it stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 48 hours, until thickened. Then give it another gentle stir, and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before using. (It will get even thicker during this time.) From there, it will keep for about 2 weeks, give or take, in the fridge.

Or, here's another similar recipe.

Hope that helps!

10:14 AM, April 27, 2008  
Blogger Jodi said...

Molly, what a wonderful blog! Well, more like food poetry than a blog per se but nonetheless THANK YOU! A friend of mine in Switzerland stumbled upon your blog while searching for info on nefles AKA loquats and she passed along your post about them while in Paris. I must find them now to see what all the fuss is about. Do you know of any places in Seattle that carry them?

11:42 PM, April 27, 2008  
Anonymous Isabelle said...

I made this tonight with leek and regular garlic (being in the southern hemisphere in autumn!) and it was absolutely divine. And I'm not a super soup lover. Thanks for the inspiration!

4:14 AM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Jen said...

I was in Seattle this past weekend for a conference and brought back some green garlic - which I haven't seen yet in Chicago - specifically to make this soup. And it was fabulous! (Although my carry-on luggage does now smell faintly garlic-y...)

9:41 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger Melody said...

If green garlic is just sprouted garlic you could easily buy regular stuff and keep it in the fridge for a little bit. Garlic sprouts in the cold. Viola! Year round awesome soup at a good price.

2:47 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I once dated a boy, in college, whose father was magic in the kitchen. On a visit to his house, this father made the brightest, greenest soup I had ever seen! I expected it to taste like leaves, in the not-so-good way, but! It was vibrant! That was the exact word for it. I begged him for the recipe, and this man told me, "I'm sorry, I just made it up." And thus the amazing green soup remained shrouded in mystery.

I was desperate for it, just like you, but had no idea where to begin, having very little cooking experience at this time.

And then here you are, with your vibrant green soup! I attempted this tonight with the regular-garlic-leek substitution, and because I'm vegan I tried a blob of coconut milk in place of the creme fraiche — not the same, but also lovely. All in all, I think my quest for the magical mythical Vibrant Green Soup has found its so very satisfying end. Thank you!

P.S. The boy did not work out, but the soup is still on its pedestal.

8:39 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Sheri said...

Sounds wonderful! If you like spinach soup, try Bongo Bongo soup - a delicious concoction from another Bay Area favorite, Trader Vic's. It's oyster and spinach soup. Sounds weird but it is divine!

9:51 AM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous Jen H. said...

In honor of your mention of Swamp Thing, who strangely enough has been frequently discussed in our house lately, I share this:



3:06 PM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Cara said...

I made a version of this over the weekend -- didn't find green garlic so I used leeks and garlic, as Molly suggested. I also didn't want to get creme fraiche so I rewarmed the soup with 2 T heavy cream. It's absolutely delicious and I'm eating it every day for lunch or dinner! FYI I bought 1.5 lbs of leeks (since the upper half is discarded), and added five garlic cloves. Cooked everything low and slow so the garlic did not get bitter. I will definitely make the "real" version when I find green garlic.

3:00 PM, May 07, 2008  
Blogger amisha said...

molly, i am with you on the soup love! my grandmother makes the most amazing spinach and roasted garlic soup. i'm not sure the name, but it's a south indian dish and just amazing... subtle and spicy and just so so good. i will try to get the recipe from my mama and send it your way! xo

10:36 PM, May 10, 2008  
Blogger perry-grin said...

I mean... soup is delicious and amazing, and soup that doubles for salad is even better.

Stuff like this and the Gazpacho-to-Come... are what make summer in LA tolerable...

... also gin-tonic (if one adds lime, then is it an, um, "fruit" soup?)

8:52 AM, May 11, 2008  
Anonymous jennifer said...

hi molly - you probably already saw this - but just in case: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/magazine/18food-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&oref=slogin

p.s. tell brandon that jennifer (lis and amy's old roommate) said hello!

5:17 PM, May 18, 2008  
Blogger Meg said...

Delicious soup! I added a bit too much broth, so it was too soupy at first. The next day I pan roasted and cooked down 1 - 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower, then pureed it with the leftover soup. Topped it off with grated pecorino romano. I actually like the soup better with cauliflower because it gives it a creamier texture. The spinach onion bread I bought at the farmers market was the perfect match. Thanks for the great recipe!

10:25 AM, June 02, 2008  
Blogger Vanima Andune said...

This soup is fantastic. I'm just learning to cook, and I love how simple and easy it is. And it's so GREEN. Thanks so much.

5:36 PM, June 04, 2008  
Blogger csk said...

I just made this and I love it. It was relatively fast and easy. I like that there are only a handful of ingredients.

I used my immersion blender and only had one tiny green splatter come from it!

I used half leeks and half garlic as a sub for green garlic. Wasn't too garlicky, though I am Korean so I may not be the best judge.

It was great with a nice toasted french bread.

9:28 PM, August 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man oh man! I finally made this last night. Thinned out my garlic and had a fabulous soup too. LOVE it!


10:21 AM, April 22, 2009  
Anonymous Taragrrl said...

Oh wow. We had fresh spinach from our CSA and fresh green garlic too. Soup turned out beautifully---even my 4-year-old and 1-year-old wolfed it down! The color is amazing.

4:40 PM, April 30, 2009  
Blogger Linda said...

I can't remember when I actually planted garlic, but once I did, it has come back and spread ever since (although it is easy to pull out for this soup).

11:21 AM, May 03, 2009  
Blogger Provincial said...

In typical (for me) fashion, I decided to make this soup at the spur of the moment last night, was pleased that all the non-fresh ingredients I always have on hand, and went to the local co-op to pick up the green garlic and spinach. With a little one on the way, the pure healthiness of this soup was sure to be a winner for me!

Of course, no green garlic was available, so I grabbed a leek based on your recommendation. I've never had much luck with leeks, so imagine my pure joy when things turned out well!

I used five small to medium-sized cloves of garlic, and then cut the white part of the leek into small moons (which I then quartered). I kept cutting up the leek until I got to the frond parts (which I have no idea how to use or really even clean).

Anyway, I've never been much of a soup maker because the soup memories of my youth include can openers and I always (ALWAYS!) make a huge mess when I puree soups in the blender. However, with my Christmas gift of a stick blender, I was able to blend this one right in the pot.

Thank you thank you thank you for making me a soup believer. I cannot wait for leftovers tonight.

11:50 AM, May 13, 2009  
Anonymous luba said...

I'm thrilled to see this recipe! I'm a CSA member here in SF and my fridge is full of green garlic. Very full of green garlic. And I have been lamenting my inability to use it up. Boy was I thrilled to see the "lb" in the ingredient list!

11:43 PM, May 16, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVED this soup so much! I'm dying to make it again, but wondering... has anyone else had horrible bloating/gas afterwards? Sorry to be so blunt. The soup was worth it, though! ;-)

2:27 PM, May 19, 2009  
Anonymous Tonya said...

Made this soup last night, our 9 year old took a taste, and with eyes wide, 'It's good!', he says.

So simple, light, easy for summer.
Thank you.

9:19 AM, May 21, 2009  
Anonymous nicole u said...

this soup is the greatest thing since sliced bread...i was drawn to the green garlic and spinach at the farmers market this morning--i knew there was a recipe on your blog involving the two. the result is amazing (i skipped the creme fraiche). so amazing in fact, that i ate two bowls! a real winner, miss molly!

2:45 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger jenny said...

I made this last night with regular garlic (4 cloves) and low-sodium chicken stock. It came out a little bland and the garlic flavor wasn't as strong as I hoped it to be (I love garlic!) I forgot to add scallions or shallot at the beginning and I think this would have helped. I added salt at the end too but think I should have added more. I'm not discouraged though and will make this again! The color is magnificent and I think some croutons would be a nice garnish.

Green garlic will definitely be added to our garden this fall or spring as I'm horrible about making it to the farmer's market here in Austin...

6:50 AM, August 23, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used Rapunzel vegan vegetable bouillon w/sea salt. I must have accidentally bought the one with salt, usually don't. That explains how it got so salty. I didn't have spinach, so I used Swiss chard - used about 6 big leaves. Could definitely use more. Didn't want to buy creme fraiche when I had goat cheese & yummy Strauss unsweetened yoghurt at home. Threw in about 4T yoghurt, 3T goat cheese. IT WAS AMAZING! This is my first time making green garlic soup, only had it in restaurants & always loved it. Will be making this all (short) season. THANK YOU!

10:45 PM, March 07, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow your own Green Garlic, either in a pot or the garden, inside or outside. Use store bought garlic bulbs. Bury single cloves 1 inch apart and 2 inches deep, or the whole head which will come up as a clump, as many stalks as the number of cloves in the head. Plant in the Fall or early Spring. Single cloves planted will give nicer sized stalks. I grow lots of it. Slice it small and freeze it or dry it to use in soups etc, if you can't use it fresh.

3:43 PM, April 23, 2012  
Blogger Paula Thomas said...

Going to give this soup a try. I make my own stock too but was curious which one you recommend but the link to it is broken.

5:55 PM, June 05, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Paula, how maddening that the link broke! Just as well, though, because I don't really care for that stock anymore. If I'm not making my own, I tend to use Better Than Bouillon. I think it's far and away the best.

12:03 PM, June 06, 2012  
Blogger Kristin said...

i made this last night, and I'm completely obsessed! Thank you!!

12:14 PM, March 27, 2013  

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