The first real signs of spring, the green shoots that sustained village life and staved off scurvy, are the sorrel, the wild garlic, the nettles any one of which gives this essential green soup an edge. Here I have used wild garlic, just a handful not to overpower.
This evolved from using up the leftovers but I get more and more interested combining these different elements that people take for granted. Combining the different elements here gives the soup a complexity, like a tapestry. The base soup is fine on its own. I have noticed that it is almost a test with people who I might think of as eating an overly acid diet that this straightforward belt and braces combination usually goes down pretty well.
But if there is any left, part two is a different book, easily put together and could hold its place in any restaurant menu. The cooking is short for a soup, which is good vitaminwise too. If you have any herbs to add, then so much the better. But this is a really good marriage of nutrition and gastronomy.
Part one: dice one red onion, one white onion, half a celery, one carrot, one potato and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 40 minutes.
Part Two: bring back to a simmer and add quarter pack of spinach (or a bunch); a handful of wild garlic leaves, quarter packet of petit pois. As the spinach wilts – a couple of minutes – take off the heat and liquidize to a smooth green puree. Add two tablespoons of crème fraiche and one of Dijon mustard.
Mix well, warm through and serve as is.