Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Minestrone


I concocted this recipe for Food 52's Best Minestrone or Best Pistou recipe.

Big, hearty minestrones are the stuff of cold winter nights. In late spring, I lighten up this comfort dish with fresh fava beans, peas and green or wild garlic, topping it with a light goat cheese and green pea pistou, bright with mint. Pokeweed, if you have it, makes a wonderful, wild addition...

Serves 4

Green Pea Pistou:

1 cup cooked green peas
2.5 ounces soft, white goat cheese
3 sprigs fresh mint, stalks removed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor combine all the ingredients and whizz till just smooth.
Taste, adjust seasoning, and keep aside in a bowl.

Late Spring Minestrone:

4 slices of pancetta
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 scallions, whites and greens chopped
1 green garlic bulb, chopped, reserve the greens
2 cups shelled fava beans, very roughly chopped
1 cup shelled green peas
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh mint
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, cook the pancetta till the fat starts to run. Add the shallot, scallions and chopped garlic.
When the onion turns translucent add the beans and peas. Stir.
Add the chicken stock, sugar and the bunch of mint.
After five minutes at simmer add the chopped greens of the green garlic.
After another five minutes test to see if the beans are cooked.
If they are, add salt if you need it, as well as the lemon juice (Adding the acidic juice earlier will toughen their skins).
Add 3 Tbsp of the green pea pistou and stir into the soup.
Serve into bowls and top with a dollop of bright green pistou.

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