Here in Ireland spring is supposed to be almost over – for some mysterious reasons summer starts on the 1st of May. But Nature does not stick to human parameters so the wind is still chilly – 1˚C last night – and the wild herbs are really just right for this late spring soup.
Originally cooked for me by Philippe, a french couch surfer, is a traditional peasant soup, with lots of garlic and any green available.
This version is light on garlic – but you can add as much as you like!
Most of the greens are wild – the rocket is a wild variety, I sowed some in 2006, planted it in the polytunnel, let it go to seed and… I have a constant supply of it, all year round! The same self seeding habit applies to the Claytonia perfoliata (also known as miners lettuce, winter purslane…) , which goes to seed around this time of the year and then sprouts in November – honestly, I have to weed it out at times.
According to Philippe this soup is great if you feel under the weather: garlic, thyme, oats – plus all those barely cooked greens!
It is also really quick to cook, most of the time needed to prepare it is gathering the herbs.
A note on nettles:
Obviously you have to wear rubber gloves when picking nettles
Only use the young tips of the plant.
Once cooked they do not sting.
Ingredients for the Wild green spring soup:
makes 2 portions
2-3 cloves of garlic – can go up to 1 full head if you feel like it
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dry)
4 packed cups of wild edible greens: nettles, sorrel, pennywort (Umbilicus rupestri), wild rocket, Claytonia, and the non wild leaf beet, parsley
1/2 cup oats
stock or water
Trim, wash and chop the greens. Wear gloves if using nettles….
Chop or crush the garlic and fry in 1 tbsp of oil without burning it. Add the thyme and the herbs. Cover and let wilt – this will take about 1 minute.
Pour the water or stock onto the greens, add salt if using, bring to the boil, boil for 1 minute and then remove the pot from the stove.
Add the oat flakes, cover with a lid and let soak 3 or 4 minutes.