Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Welcome spring with this satisfying vegetable soup

- By Diane Rossen Worthingto­n

After this dreary winter, I find myself anticipati­ng spring in all its glory. The sunny weather, the vibrant flowers and, of course, the abundance of vegetables that pop up this time of year. Needless to say, I’ve been longing for a clear soup studded with green spring veggies; and I’ve found one.

This soup is easy to put together and offers such rich flavor. The tasty tangle of spring asparagus, sugar snap peas, leeks and garlic shines, even if you cheat a little to save time and use good-quality petite peas. I often use frozen peas over fresh peas if I can’t acquire them fresh from the garden.

Spring green soup

Makes: 4 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

For the soup:

2 tablespoon­s extra-virgin olive oil

1 large leek or 2 small leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and chopped 2 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin

2 cups 1-inch cut slender asparagus

1 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed and cut in half horizontal­ly

1 small new potato, julienned

Coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

5 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock 1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 cup frozen petite green peas, defrosted 2 tablespoon­s shredded basil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

There are many things you can do to personaliz­e this soup. You can throw in some rice or orzo instead of the potato. Also, feel free to use any fresh herb you love such as mint, dill or basil. You can even make this a pure vegan soup if you use a rich vegetable stock rather than chicken stock.

Sometimes I will place some chopped-up soft cheese in the bowl and pour the soup right over it so it melts the cheese. Other times I’ll shave Parmesan cheese over the top and add a small dollop of basil pesto as a finishing garnish.

I like to serve this as a satisfying lunch dish. It is best made just before serving so the vegetables don’t overcook. Whatever you decide, this is a perfect welcome to the spring season.

To garnish:

1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 tablespoon shredded basil

1. Heat 2 tablespoon­s of the oil in a medium soup pot on medium heat. Saute the leeks for about 4 minutes or until nicely softened. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the asparagus pieces, sugar snap peas and potato and cook for another 3 minutes, or until crisp tender. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the stock and miso paste and bring to a simmer for about 10 more minutes or until vegetables are just cooked through. Add the peas, basil and lemon zest and cook another minute or until the peas are just warmed through. Taste for seasoning.

3. To serve: Ladle the soup in shallow soup bowls and garnish with lemon zest and basil. Serve immediatel­y.

 ?? WORTHINGTO­N/TNS DIANE ROSSEN ?? This soup is best made just before serving so the vegetables don’t overcook.
WORTHINGTO­N/TNS DIANE ROSSEN This soup is best made just before serving so the vegetables don’t overcook.

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