GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

March 27, 2013

Food For Thought: Soup for the early spring

Here is a course for Easter brunch or dinner that looks like a painting and tastes like a spring garden.

Based on a Finnish recipe called Kesakeitto, or Finnish Summer Soup, this is a small mound of the most delicate spring vegetables pooled in a broth of hot, fresh milk, garnished with smoked salmon and peas.

My version of the dish crosses the Atlantic and backs up a season; I call it “Early Spring Soup in New England.”

Small parsnips, baby turnips, tiny yellow beets, broccoli florets, the tiniest baby potatoes, and a dice of carrots, all looked quickly in boiling salted water, mound in the center of each bowl.

I looked for the best vegetables I could find. I chopped the larger vegetables like parsnips and carrots, (Never use “baby carrots,” as they are not young at all, but old wooden carrots cut down.) still looking for the smallest versions of them, into a tiny dice. If a beet or turnip was small enough, I sliced them into rounds. Along with a variety of vegetables, I wanted a variety of shapes, not just a pile of diced Birds Eye veggies. The only vegetable I kept whole were the tiny potatoes.

I found a treasure of root vegetables at the Somerville Winter Farmer’s Market, but if seeking freshly dug produce isn’t on your to-do list this week, a keen eye at the grocery store will be allow you a beautiful palette in your bowl, and probably a delicious one.

All the vegetables are cooked in boiling, salted water, beginning with the vegetables that make take the longest, (in my case it was the potatoes,) to the vegetables that will cook the fastest, using your judgement. My order went like this: potatoes cooked for two minutes, then I added the diced parsnip and carrots, then the beets and turnips, then the broccoli.

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