As I have two weeks of vacation, I have a bit more time to myself. I wanted to go hiking this Saturday. As it is spring and there are lots of edible things appearing in the wild, I decided for a spot which has swampy areas, where the chance of finding wild garlic would be high. I would not have refused to also meet morels but I knew that it was a ridiculous hope as I have had bad luck regarding mushroom hunting in Belgium.
I had stumbled on some recipes regarding wild garlic soup and realized that I had never made a wild garlic soup. It was always wild garlic oil or pesto or just plain buttered ramsons. Therefore, I had to find some more wild garlic on the hiking trip.
I did – I don’t bend over for nothing. It was truly a wild garlic sea, anywhere you turned -it was everywhere.
So I picked several of such pretty bunches and continued hiking, thinking of possible ways to make the soup. While hiking, I saw other spring edibles too, such as:
Stinging nettle. As I did not have equipment with me in order to prevent the sting, I had to leave them behind, although they also make a great soup.
Fiddlehead ferns. The furled fronds of a young fern (say what). These are known to be similar to asparagus. I have not yet picked and cooked them myself, because there are types of ferns that should be left in the forest, however I have yet to make more research on it and be sure how to identify them. I can say though that these don’t look at all like the Bracken fern which is widely disputed whether it is good enough for food consumption, as they can contain carcinogens.
Hiking through the woods with a bag full of wild garlic, my mind was occupied with developing possible recipes for the soup.
As I already had in the fridge some vegetable stock that I make when my box with vegetable scraps (carrot ends, last layer of the onion, parsley stalks, broccoli stems, green part of leeks) gets filled up in the freezer, I would use that stock as the base for the soup. I had half a head of cauliflower and an old courgette looking sad in the fridge, so in they went. I also added one onion. I caramelized the onion and added colour to both the cauliflower and the courgette, and covered it with vegetable stock to cook until cauliflower was done. I blanched half of the wild garlic (two very big handfuls), and the other half I added fresh at the end, when pureeing the soup, so that it would keep it’s pungency. And a bit of cream to bring it all together into a smooth wild garlic soup.
It was very, very good on its own, however I wanted something extra and I thought of mild-tasting goat’s cheese curds. And good olive oil, of course.
The acidity of goat’s curds were the perfect addition. However, since not everyone in this house likes goat’s cheese, I had to substitute it with something else. In my childhood, when my mother made nettle soup, it was always served with a boiled egg. I could not go wrong here with an egg.
A perfectly soft-boiled egg with truffle salt and truffle oil. Since the soup itself mainly consists of cheap or completely free ingredients, you can and should add a bit of extravaganza in the form of a truffle. I must admit I liked this version a bit more, as the food out of the other person’s plate always tastes better, right?
Here you go. To spring.