In celebration of Bastille Day, I had a few friends over for some French inspired cuisine. The hit of the meal was my Nasturtium soup.
Growing up, we had them in the yard and my mother would throw them into salads every once in a while. So I was familiar with the taste (strong, peppery) but never thought much of them until I read the biography of Alice Waters. I had to try the soup she mentions in her interview. The trick was, I couldn’t just walk into a market and buy a pound of leaves and flowers… I had to find it. Foraged food is exotic and free 🙂
Then there is the juxtaposition I mentioned. Truffles, of the mushroom persuasion. The highly coveted and very expensive little buggers that you only find in the best of markets and restaurants. When I first tasted my soup I liked it, but felt something was missing, so I drizzled a little white truffle oil on it and BAM! I wanted to bathe in it. It was simple yet rich and really yummy.
Here is the recipe, I hope you like it as much as I do.
Nasturtium Soup with Truffle Oil
5-6 cloves of garlic
6 cups chicken stock (make it from sratch with mirepoix if you can, belive me it makes a huge difference! See bottom for stock recipie)
4 cups fresh nasturtium leaves and flowers
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 Tablespoons truffle oil (preferably white truffle)
In a large pot, pour in chicken stock and set heat to medium. Rinse nasturtium leaves and remove stems and seeds and add to chicken stock. Slice leeks thinly (reserving a small handful for garnish if desired) and chop garlic, add to pot. Let cook for about a half hour. While soup is cooking, pluck the petals from the flowers, the whole thing is edible but for presentation purposes I’d recommend just the petals. Strain the soup and return the broth to the stove, set heat to high and gently stir while adding cream and pepper, add salt if you feel necessary. Do not let the soup boil, it will curdle the cream.
Pour into bowls, drizzle a little truffle oil and sprinkle the petals.
Basic Chicken Stock
3-4lbs Chicken pieces, preferably with skin and bones – leftover chicken carcasses work too, if you happen to have one leftover.
1 large onion
3-4 stems of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 Scarborough Faire (1 tsp each: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) hehe
Place chicken in pot and fill with just enough water to cover. Clean and chop the rest of the ingredients and let cook for at least an hour, the longer the better. Strain and let cool, overnight works best, then skim the fat off the top.
I didn’t mention salt and pepper because I assume this will be added to something else, if serving as is – go ahead and season to taste. 🙂