Thursday, June 17, 2010

LaRatte Potato & White Turnip Soup with Lovage


What happens when I find a whole bunch of things at the market that I've never noticed before? Throw them all in a big soup and blend it up, of course.

Here are a few things that I decided to experiment with:
Scapes - A very young garlic stalk with a mild garlic flavor.

Lovage - Similar to parsley, but with a very strong celery scent and flavor, but a hint of fenugreek taste.

LaRatte Potatoes - As per the farmer's sign: "A gourmet French potato with buff yellow skin and smooth yellow flesh. They have a subtly sweet, rich flavor reminiscent of chestnuts and hazelnuts. The texture is smooth and custardy when pureed, yet they maintain a firm texture when cooked." There are so many varieties of potatoes to play with, but I thought this one would work nicely as a base for a soup. Don't cut them too early before cooking, as I found they turn brown very quickly.

Red Scallions -  I'm not sure how they differ from the white ones, but they just looked prettier.

White Turnips - Some farms called these Japanese turnips. They seemed a lot milder and smoother than the larger ones. I figured they might add a little bitterness to contend with the very potent lovage. 

At the left: LaRatte potatoes and White Turnips
Center: Red Scallions and their tops
Right: Lovage
Far Right: Garlic Scape

For a bunch of spring findings, these made a kind of hearty root soup. One might be fooled into thinking it was a celeriac soup, since the bit of lovage was quite potent. It turned out quite velvety and a nice spring green color. Days later, I find no desire to finish this soup - the flavor from the lovage is just too strong to keep going back for more. I'll stick to the milder greens in the future!

LaRatte Potato & White Turnip Soup with Lovage
1 T unsalted butter (*omit for vegan*)
1 T Olive Oil
2 entire Red Scallons, include green tops, chopped
1 garlic Scape, about 8", chopped
2 LaRatte potatoes (6-7"long), peeled and sliced into 1/2" rounds
5 small White Turnips
1/2 C chopped Lovage (flavor is strong - try 1/4C or less), or use parsley, or try tarragon.
3 C Vegetable stock
1 C Water
1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Black pepper to taste

1. Melt butter & oil in stock pot. Add scallions and scapes and saute 3 minutes. 
2. Add potatoes and turnips, saute 3 minutes.
3. Add lovage, saute 1 minute to wilt.
4. Add stock and water and simmer 25 minutes. 
5. Puree with a hand-mixer and season with salt and pepper.

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