Deborah Madison has published a new cookbook, and the food-universe is rejoicing. With good reason, it is a beautiful book. The food-trend pendulum has swung back to vegetables, and so a resurgence in Madison’s popularity makes perfect sense. Vegetable Literacy is one of a slew of new books focusing on vegetables. The recipes are organized by plant families and you get good information about the growing and care of each vegetable. In some ways, it is the American version of Tender. It is fresh and bright and perfect for spring.
I took it for a test drive with this carrot soup. The soup itself is pretty mundane, and honestly not worth making without the accompaniments. But the accompaniments elevate this to delicious. Madison cleverly includes some collard greens that have been tossed with coconut butter, and a sprinkling of dukkah, the delicious Egyptian spice and nut blend. The greens and dukkah make this a lovely bowl of soup that is a great way of celebrating spring. I am looking forward to trying more recipes from the book as our market gets up and and running, and local vegetables return to my kitchen.
If anyone is interested in a day in my life, check it out over at So, How Was Your Day?, a blog that I love reading. It is fun getting glimpses into strangers’ lives.
So, seriously—you have to make all three parts of this recipe. Together they are magic. I happened to have coconut butter, you might not. You could try just sauteing the blanched greens in coconut oil, though they will be less flavorful. Maybe get some coconut butter? It is delicious. Also, I ended up adding a little acid to the soup because I thought it needed some brightness. The lime juice will work, otherwise a few drops of vinegar. Salt is your friend in this recipe.
Carrot Soup with Tangled Collard Greens in Coconut Butter and Dukkah (adapted slightly from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 pounds carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons peeled and slivered fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Sea salt
- Several smallish collard leaves
- sea salt
- coconut butter
- squeeze of lime juice
- Dukkah for serving (I basically used this recipe but with hazelnuts)
Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, ginger, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt, give it a stir and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the collards. Trim the stems, stack the leaves, roll them up, and then slice thinly crosswise. You’ll have a pile of long, thin, slices of collards. Bring a skillet of water to a boil, add a little salt and the greens and simmer until tender, a few minutes. Drain well and toss while hot with the coconut butter to taste. Add salt and lime juice to taste.
When the soup is ready, puree until smooth. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary. You can thin the soup with water at this point.
Ladle the soup into bowls and set a tangle of collards atop each serving and top with a generous amount of dukkah.