A Spring Soup
There is a very short period in the spring where all the quintessential vegetables of the season can be found in full flavour: fresh peas, braodbeans and artichokes overlap for a very precious few weeks, usually in April. This would call for vignarola (you can find the recipe here), the roman spring vegetable stew, but we found in Gill Meller’s wonderful cookbook Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower an even more uplifting alternative, a simple soup of spring vegetables garnished with flowers. The flavours of the spring elevate this simple fare to an incredibly delicious starter.
Since the book has only been published in 2020, we’d rather not publish the whole recipe – buy the book! – but for us the process was as follows:
Cut fennel and potatoes in small cubes and gently fry in olive oil, until soft. Add vegetable stock and bring to a slow simmer. Eventually add broadbeans, peas, courgette, as well as a few pea pods, and after two minutes add a few salad leaves and some cut fresh herbs (mint, chives, fennel tops etc), a squeeze of lemon. Cook for a minutes more and serve. We added a few rosemary and wild garlic flowers to garnish and a drizzle of Pennita’s Selezione Alina, which added another amazing layer of flavour.