Bärlauchsuppe (deutsches Rezept s. u.) – Wild garlic soup
Since a few days we are spoilt by sunshine & blue skies, spring seems to have arrived. In my book spring starts officially when bunches of Bärlauch with its chive & garlic scented dark green leaves are turning up at the markets. Wild garlic, ramsons, Allium ursinum or in German: Bärlauch bears its name for the brown bear’s penchant for the tasty bulbs of this vegetable & herb plant. I am fond of such telling names (like last weeks Pissenlit or the lovely Meadowsweet), they provide us with a story that connects us to a time when foraging was practiced en famille, the properties and effects (and edibility) of any plant, herb & mushroom were common knowledge.
Anyway, not to impress here as the master forager (which I am not, quite the opposite): stocks of wild garlic are depleted here and I am always a little afraid of picking the wrong plant by accident, although I think wild garlic and the beautiful but poisonous (!) Lily-of-the-Valley can be distinguished easily. Plus, I would feel deprived of my weekly visit to the market, having a quick chat and see what’s fresh, enticing and inspiring.
Friday the first wild garlic had turned up, just in time for the weekend: This is a very light, fresh and invigorating starter to a dinner. It hardly is a real soup, more akin to a tisane (guess who’s watching Hercule Poirot at the moment) or infusion, just a little something to set the tone and entice the taste buds. Best served in small amounts either in a little bowl or cup.
Update: My wild garlic soup is in the Guardian, yipee.
Is a bunch a bunch? – sizes: There has arisen a question about weight or size of a or this bunch of wild garlic. Bunch sizes vary according to country, shop or stall or season or if you harvest yourself. This recipe is totally flexible and how much you use depends on your taste as well: use more for a vivid green colour & super intense wild garlic taste, less if you prefer a less in your face spring experience. The bunches I have bought this year fitted comfortably in my hand, holding the bunch like a bouquet. I weighed it, too: 173g (6.1oz) with stalks, rubber band & the occasional flower; 126g (4.4oz) just the leaves.
Wild garlic soup
for 4 or 6 diners
1 (large) bunch of wild garlic (see comment above about size guide)
1 shallot, minced
a knob of butter
500ml or a pint of chicken or vegetable stock (add more or less to taste)
salt & white pepper
a dollop of cream (single, double, whipping, crème fraîche, crème double, anything)
Wash and chop the wild garlic leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and let the shallot turn slowly translucent. Add the chopped leaves and the stock, cook for a few minutes, then blend to a vivid green liquid. Season with salt & white pepper and add a dollop of cream.
für 4 bis 6 Personen
1 (großes) Bund Bärlauch (Kommentar oben in Englisch zur Bundgröße, paßt wie ein Blumenstrauß in die Hand)
1 Schalotte, fein gehackt
1 Stückchen Butter
500ml Hühner- oder Gemüsebrühe (mehr oder weniger nach Geschmack)
Salz & weißer Pfeffer
ein Schuß Sahne (oder Crème fraîche, crème double etc.)
Die Bärlauchblätter waschen und hacken. In einem kleinen Topf die Butter bei mittlere Hitze schmelzen und die Schalottenwürfel glasig werden lassen. Den zerkleinerten Bärlauch sowie die Brühe hinzugeben und für ein paar Minuten köcheln lassen, dann pürieren. Das intensiv grüne Süppchen mit Salz & weißem Pfeffer abschmecken und mit einem Schuß Sahne verfeinern. In kleinen Tassen servieren.