the sun is early and hot as of recent – a golden vibrato come birdsong morning. blindless tiny windows spill light into our humble space, enough to rouse eyelids into motion. by midday the shade has disappeared, devoured in whole by the sky’s dedication to day. come evening the heat is the grandest exposure, rocketing roots deeper into the ground and sending fruit to flower in the most generous of ways. summer’s thick and honeyed voice cannot be muted, it only swells. and if you aren’t careful, like I may never grow to be, your food may end up budding. generally this isn’t a cause for concern, unless it’s all of your food, and then you scoff at the heat and haze and make soup.
i am a soup in any weather (soup of any temperature) kind of woman. it could be a happy life’s dedication to all day craft virtuous pots of soup and stew. it is the answer to most questions that intimidate my mind. it is the perfect level of community and intimacy. it is a fascination and study in texture, color, and smell. it is exactly what you do when the solar noon seduces your spinach into flowers.
in the direct heat i idle, in the warmth of a day’s possibility i flourish. there are the odd moments where i question the integrity of the forces around me, but i never doubt the ones within me. i’ve found the perfect compliment to the earthen leaf of spinach – be it the sweet and rich mascarpone cheese.
- 3 tbl olive oil
- 2 large shallots, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp caraway seed
- ½ tsp cayenne (less for a different heat preference)
- 3½ cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ baguette loaf, torn
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil. once shimmering add the shallot and celery. saute ingredients until softened, 5 minutes. add caraway and cayenne and cook for fragrance, 1 minute. add vegetable broth and spinach. stir ingredients, cover, and simmer over medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
- carefully remove contents of pot (retain pot on stove) to a blender and blend on high, until soup is completely smooth. remove soup back to the pot and bring to a medium heat. add the mascarpone cheese and stir until melted into soup. finish with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
- to make breadcrumbs process torn baguette pieces in a food processor, until small crumbs form. heat olive oil in a small pan and add pine nuts. toast briefly and add bread crumbs. mix together and toast until bread is golden. garnish soup with bread crumbs.