03 April 2012
Creamy radish greens soup
No one seems to know it, but radish greens are definitely edible. I let some radishes bolt over the winter, mostly so I could see if they'd actually produce seeds early enough to let me pull the plants and still give something else enough time to grow in their spot. They're finally starting to develop some buds--but in the meantime, they've also produced a massive amount of radish greens. Might as well eat them, right?
Like dandelions and escarole, radish greens get more bitter as they grow. This means that if you have monster radish greens--I certainly do--it's important to address that bitterness, so you don't end up with an inedible finished product.
I decided to try combining my radish greens with chard and spinach in a soup. I used bean broth (and a few stray cooked beans) to give the soup some depth, and brightened it up with some lemon juice and zest. Dairy is clearly a good addition, adding creaminess while balancing out the bitter bite of the greens.
The finished soup was fairly thin--almost thin enough to pour into a glass and drink off. It's possible to cook off some of the moisture to thicken the soup, but I wouldn't try this with greens; extended boiling will turn them a sludgy olive color. If you want a thicker soup, you could add some cooked white beans along with your broth, cook a diced potato in the broth before you add the greens, or just stir in a couple spoonfuls of cornstarch slurry at the end.
Since I was just making soup for me, this recipe makes one large or two small servings.
Creamy radish greens soup
olive oil or butter
bean or vegetable broth
roughly equal amounts of radish greens, chard, and spinach
plain yogurt or other creamy device of your choice
lemon juice & zest
Soften a chopped shallot and a couple cloves of crushed and minced garlic in olive oil. When they're just beginning to turn golden, add about a cup of bean or vegetable broth. I used frozen bean broth, as usual, so I had to give it an extra few minutes to defrost in the pan. In any case, bring your broth to a boil.
While you're waiting, wash, destem, and roughly chop your greens. I used about six or seven large radish leaves, one huge chard leaf (minus its stem), and two small spinach plants. When the broth is boiling, add your radish greens and chard to the pot. Season with a little salt and pepper, stir it up, and let cook for three to four minutes, or until the greens have just wilted. Add the spinach, stir again, and cook for another minute or two.
When all the greens are wilted, take your pan off the heat. Give your soup a minute to cool down before pureeing it with an immersion blender. Then add a little drizzle of olive oil and a big spoonful of plain yogurt (or crumbled goat cheese, cream cheese, actual cream--whatever you want to use) and puree again.
The immersion blender isn't going to get your soup perfectly smooth, but that's ok. I found that it created a nice suspension of tiny green flecks in a opaque green broth. If you want a smoother soup, process your soup in an actual blender.
Once your soup is pureed, add a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice and do a final taste check. Add a little more salt or pepper if you need to. Then ladle your soup into a bowl, top with some extra yogurt, pepper, and finely chopped lemon zest, and have at it.
I'd definitely eat this with a bunch of flatbread or garlicky pita chips baked in the toaster oven. This time I just made some rye toast, which was also a good plan. It definitely made a great scraper for the bits of greens stuck to the side of the bowl.