Spring minestrone with a charred jalapeño salsa
So fresh and so green!
So fresh and so green!
Spring always arrives a lot later in Stockholm. For me it couldn't come sooner after the months of darkness and cold. I've been busy sowing seeds and now May is here I'm hoping I'll be able to move my windowsill seedlings outside (peas, courgette, pumpkin, beans and sweetcorn).
The Swedes love to celebrate good weather (Midsummer being bigger than Christmas). The weekend gone Valborg was a way of doing so. Large bonfires are lit at dusk and people gather to sing and dance around it. At my local one it was great to catch up with the neighbours and other locals after months of cold weather. I only wish I brought some sausages and marshmallows along.
I like to celebrate the beginning of Spring with a vibrant green minestrone-esque soup packed with greens. A top to tail approach to asparagus (no throwing away the tough ends) helps give this nourishing broth a deep flavour. The veg keep their colour and crunch with a gentle quick cook. Please don't leave out the salsa. It really lifts the soup.
Traditional minestrone soup has small bits of pasta instead of chickpeas or butter beans, so feel to switch out if you like. I would recommend cooking the pasta separately and just throwing in at the end (otherwise the veg will be overcooked).
Turn the grill on to a high heat (200c). Half the spring onions into white and green parts. Place the white parts on a baking tray lined with baking paper with the jalapeño chili. Put under the grill. When the onions are black on the outside turnover so they blacken on the other side.
Peel, crush and roughly chop the garlic. Remove the wooden end parts of the asparagus and the tips. If you have a teabag, you can put the wooden end parts to it. Otherwise put in a bag and into the freezer for when you make a vegetable stock. Set the tips aside and cut the stalks into 3mm thick rounds.
Finely slice the celery and chop half of the remaining green parts of the onion. Put 2 tbsps of olive oil, garlic, celery and the green parts of the onion into the pot. Stir and cook until the vegetables are softened before adding the frozen peas, sliced asparagus stalks and parmesan rind*. Add 500ml of water, the miso paste, black pepper and stir. Leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes. Squeeze in juice of half a lemon. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Just before serving, add the asparagus tips and butter beans for 2 minutes. The residual heat from the soup should cook the asparagus tips so they are still al dente.
Place the chilli, burnt spring onions, olive oil, juice of half a lemon, rest of green parts of spring onions and good pinch of salt. Blend until you have a paste. Taste. Adjust seasoning if required.
Serve the soup with a large dollop of the charred jalapeño salsa.
*If you want to make this dish plant based, replace the parmesan rind with an additional tablespoon of miso paste.
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Thanks for this delicious recipe! For the competition: My absolute favourite smoothie combination is banana, mango, and pineapple!
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