Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chilled Spinach and Green Onion Soup


Where are you on the gardening spectrum? I find myself drawn to spending time outdoors in my garden. I love watering and pruning, nibbling on cherry tomatoes or society garlic flowers. I have my successes--Meyer lemons, herbs, limes, cherry tomatoes, roses--but frustratingly frequent fails. And then there are those that fall somewhere in the middle--like the onions I harvested yesterday.


Now here's my problem. Clay soil. Clay soil that I work religiously with compost and gypsum until I'm ready to collapse. And as soon as I turn my back and put my shovel back in the garage, that damned soil smirks and tightens right back up. The dwarf fruit trees and rose bushes seem to defy it and thrive. But annual vegetables are suffocated by it--hence the fails.

The onion seedlings were gifted to me by my mom. I didn't look at the tag but assumed they were conventional onions. I duly went home and planted them in amended soil and waited. And waited. And waited. I planted them last summer and they grew, flowered, and when the tops finally started to turn brown I decided it was time to pull them. That was yesterday. They came out like green onions--no developed bulb. Was it the fault of the clay soil or were they destined never to fill out? I don't know. But, foolishly, I pulled them all.


So, yikes! Now I have tons of green onions. I gave some to my neighbor but still am overflowing. There's not even room in my fridge. Don't get me wrong. I love green onions--but I'm bursting at the stinky allium seams.

When you start poking around for inspiration on how to use them en masse, what you find is that green onions are pretty much limited to garnish or grilling material. That just doesn't do it under the circumstances.

Soup, I thought, would--and given the heat wave we're enduring right now, chilled soup. My inspiration came from Saveur and a soup they had made with spinach, chives, and yogurt. The green onions they included were grilled--and a garnish. But if chives, why not green onion? With that little start I came up with something my own I think you'll like.


I had spinach I was going to use for smoothies. I chopped up a bunch of the green onions. I added garlic. I was with my mom at her doctor's office and mentioned all this to her and she said, "Add dill." So, I went into my garden later that afternoon and cut off some dill. I also picked a Meyer lemon because I could tell this mixture, which had a base of yogurt and sour cream, needed some acid. The garnish would be panko crumbs browned in butter--and some more chopped green onion.


The soup is delightful--thick and creamy, and quite herbaceous. It's perfect for a steamy summer meal. Other than sautéing the panko, no heat is involved. Everything goes into the blender and poured into a bowl. If you want a more refined soup, puree all the greens first and then put the mixture through a sieve. Then add the yogurt and sour cream. I like a more peasant-style soup and on a hot day didn't have the patience for an extra step so I blended everything together.

The irony is, of course, it still didn't come close to using up the green onions. Any takers?

Chilled Spinach and Green Onion Soup
(printable recipe)
Serves 4

2 cups spinach, tightly packed
1 cup green onions, sliced (set aside a couple of tablespoons for garnish)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup low-fat or "light" sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces panko crumbs

1. Place all of the ingredients until the butter in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
2. Chill the soup for at least an hour.
3. In a skillet, melt the butter and then add the panko crumbs. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds until the crumbs become slightly brown and crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
4. To serve, divide the soup between bowls. Garnish with the set aside slices of green onions and a sprinkling of the panko crumbs.


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