Straight outta the farmer's market, yo. It's my new obsession: green garlic.
The return of spring, for me, always brings with it an obsession with bright green—the color hardest to come by in the dead of winter, which is when I’m always dreaming of tender shoots and leaves. Green garlic is always a welcome surprise at my farmer’s market, and when it begins to show up around springtime (it will stick around through early summer, too), I like to make this vibrant green-as-green-can-be soup to highlight the color & grassy flavor of the season. This particular soup gets its verdant hue from not only green garlic and zucchini, but also a hefty dose of fresh basil and parsley, as well.
It’s almost supernaturally creamy (considering it doesn’t have a drop of dairy in it), for two reasons: the mild taste & wonderfully smooth texture of pureed zucchini, and the magic that happens when soaked raw cashews are blended into a rich, very cream-like puree. This is the perfect soup to hit all those ‘luxury craving’ sensors in your brain without weighing you down with overindulgence, and it’s an ideal spring or early summer dinner meal.
Green Garlic & Zucchini Soup
Makes 4 servings
2 bunches green garlic (about 1/2 lb.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large zucchini, unpeeled and diced into ½” pieces (abut 1 ½ lbs.)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
¼ cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup raw cashews (covered in water and soaked for at least two hours)
½ cup water
Salt & pepper, to taste
For Parsley Oil:
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
Slice green garlic (crosswise, across the bulb) into ¼” sections, including the darker green tops. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat, add the white and pale green slices of garlic (save the darker green slices for the moment, you’ll add them later so they don’t burn) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add zucchini and the sliced green tops of the garlic, continue to stir as you cook for 5 more minutes, allowing everything to soften. Add stock, basil and parsley, reduce heat slightly to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. While soup is simmering, make the creamy cashew puree and parsley oil.
Heat a pot of water to boiling, drop 1 whole bunch of parsley into it and blanch for 10 seconds. Remove quickly and shock with cold running water (or an ice bath) to stop cooking; parsley should be bright green and lovely. Dry well and place in blender with ½ cup olive oil, blend to a fine puree. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, save the resulting bright green oil for garnishing.
Drain soaked cashews and rinse well. Place in food processor or high-powered blender, blend until creamy and smooth. After 30 minutes, add to pot and continue to blend the entire soup mixture (you can do this is batches in your blender, or an immersion ‘stick’ blender is great for this) until smooth. Taste soup, add salt & pepper to preference. Serve warm, garnished with a freeform swirl of parsley oil.