Last weekend I went away with a bunch of girlfriends for two days of child-free relaxation, sleeping in, and cooking. We split up the meals, each person taking on a course. We promised each other not to make a big fuss, but to make delicious food and savor it.
One friend made a soup with pureed parsnips, potatoes and crab. We picked up the freshly-dug over-wintered parsnips from the Greenmarket and some lump Dungeness crab meat. Here in the northeast we may be anxious for the impending asparagus and ramps, but the truth is we're really just left with parsnips, and this soup made the best of such an early spring conundrum: a bright herbal garnish, the gentle and fresh flavor of crab and a bright yellow hue.
(Apologies for the photo: I didn't have my camera, the soup was getting cold, and I'd probably already had two glasses of wine. It's just that I'd sampled some from the stove and I knew I'd want to share the recipe with you.)
Parsnip & Crab Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only, sliced into thin rings
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
5-7 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3-5 cups vegetable or shellfish stock to cover
1/2 pound cooked lump crab meat
Chopped Italian parsley, mint, cilantro to garnish
In a 4-6 quart pot over medium flame, heat the olive oil. When glistening, sweat the onion, leek, potato, parsnips, garlic and ginger with the salt for a few minutes until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add the stock to cover, bring to a boil then lower heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the crab meat and cook another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper.
For a smooth soup, blend using either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, taking care not to overfill. For a more rustic soup, mash any large bits of potato with the back of a wooden spoon. Serve warm and garnish with chopped herbs.
Serve warm and garnish with chopped herbs.
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