Food & Drink

May 6, 2014

The Cowgirl Chef: Spring in a bowl

Before you store away the ladles, give these bright, farmers market-friendly soups a go.

Last month while I was in Paris, spring soups were on bistro menus all over town. White asparagus. Fresh peas. Watercress. Nettles. All blended beautifully in a bowl, marking the arrival of the season.

Winter may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to soups. Spring soups are lighter, easier and much quicker to put together than winter’s cook-for-hours-then-let-rest-for-a-day stews.

The truth is, I didn’t think much of soups in the springtime — or the summer, for that matter — until I moved to Paris, where there’s always a soup on the menu. Then I learned that spring soups are like salads in a bowl, because they’re often blended versions of what you might otherwise put on a plate and toss with a vinaigrette.

Like salads, soups are forgiving (whether you have 1 1/2 pounds or 1 3/4 pounds of tomatoes makes little difference in the end) and are a great way to use up bits of things in the fridge. Let those two last pieces of bacon be a garnish (see spring pea soup with bacon), or make breadcrumbs out of leftover bread and sprinkle on top (see lemony asparagus soup with ricotta). Or, in the most French-inspired of add-ons, poach an egg, place it in the middle of your soup bowl and call it dinner.

Soup’s on, y’all.

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