Wild edibles are starting to green up the sides of our river bank. Though there’s a few emerging signs of veggies in the garden (three asperagus tips about 3/4 inches tall, to be exact), I’ve had better luck eating the weeds.
I recently adapted a cream of spinach soup recipe, using nettles and ramps instead. Everyone loved it! This recipe is loaded with vegetables, is very flexible and is a great way to use whatever greens come your way – even the ones that need a bit of disguising. Remember, nettles sting when fresh, so wear gloves when harvesting. As soon as they’re cooked, the stinginess disappears. Also remember to forage responsibly – leave plenty of wild plants behind so you can continue to harvest for many years to come.
Cream of Ramp and Nettle Soup
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
4 cups packed raw nettles (be careful!)
2 cups packed raw ramps/wild leeks
3 cups whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg, tarragon, and cayenne pepper if you’re more adventurous
Saute onion in butter. Add garlic when onions are transparent and saute for another minute or two. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, nettles, leeks, parsnip, and seasonings and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes. Add milk and bring to simmer, being careful not to scald. If you have the time, simmer for an additional 30-60 minutes to make sure your veggies are soft, ensuring a smoother soup. Use an immersion blender to puree the entire contents of your pot. Add more milk if you’d like a thinner soup. Season to taste. Garnish with chopped chives or some other yummy raw spring greens. Enjoy!