I teach a class called Friday Night Fridge Finds on ChefHangout.com. The premise behind it is that we – people in general – often wind up at the end of the week without much food in the fridge or motivation to cook, but we can still come up with a healthy, tasty, and easy-to-prepare meal. Typically, it also means using up what ever “on their last leg” ingredients are left to be used.
It’s a great opportunity to avoid wasting things, eat something good, and not rely on take out.
Every once in a while, I have this experience of not having much in the fridge mid-week. The glaring ingredient this week: broccoli that should have been eaten sooner. It wasn’t off; just a little wilted and dejected-looking.
I don’t cook creatively with broccoli – typically just roasting or steaming it as a simple side. So, I turned to my trusty copy of The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs.
Before I get to what I made, though, let me tell you about this book. It is a truly great resource. It outlines almost every ingredient imaginable – from spice to meat, vegetable to nut, and dairy product to liquid concoction, etc. – in alphabetic order, along with a list of other foods (and beverages) that complement it or are related to it, and the global cuisines it is often found in. There are suggested dishes and short essays from notable chefs, notes on when an ingredient is available during the year, how it tastes and feels in your mouth,and even techniques you can use to prepare it. What are notably absent are recipes – the point is to encourage you to try your own hand at a recipe using your favorite of the suggested flavor combinations. I highly recommend it!
This is the book I turned to to help me with my broccoli dilemma. What caught my eye was this:
Flavor Affinity: broccoli + garlic + lemon juice + olive oil
And, above that: a note about using broccoli florets and puree to make rich, flavorful soup.
Sounded good to me! So, I made Lemon Garlic Broccoli Soup. Creative, I know : )
I added just a touch of the savory ghee I made, and it brought a little more richness to the dish. What stood out, though, were the lemon and garlic – so good in this soup! And it was even better the next day.
- 2 large broccoli heads (a regular sized bunch will do also), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
- 4 cups stock
- ½ tsp salt
- ground pepper to taste
- juice from ½ lemon (or more, if desired – it’s good with a little extra tanginess)
- Pre-heat large pot to medium high. When hot, add oil or ghee and coat bottom of pot.
- Add in onions and saute until translucent. Add in garlic and saute for a minute longer.
- Add broccoli, stock, and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is just tender.
- Reserve 1 cup of florets and onions. Place remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Return the puree to the pot and then stir in the reserved broccoli pieces.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Turn off heat. Stir in lemon juice and season with black pepper. Serve immediately.
Shared on Sunday Night Soup Night.