Nasturtiums are staging a coup in the vegetable garden, trying to take over everything. They need to be thinned, and are delicious, so I decided to make a salad with nasturtiums. Salad goes well with soup for a meal so I started thinking about what soup might be nice. I remembered the Pan-Roasted Carrots I made recently and realized that peppery nasturtium leaves would make a perfect seasoning for the carrots.
Roasted Carrot SoupThe first thing I did was roast eight carrots--I did them in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, at 350°F for about 2 hours. Then I minced shallots, celery, and another carrot and sweated them with some olive oil. Half an orange bell pepper left over from another meal got diced and added to the pot. Next, a chiffonade of two palm-sized nasturtium leaves went into the soup base, which was completed by adding a diced unpeeled apple.
Then I found four mandarin oranges and squeezed their juice into the pot. After the orange juice reduced, four more carrots were chopped and added to the mixture, along with a glass of Riesling and just enough water to cover the carrots. This was simmered until the carrots were done.
Everything, including the roasted carrots, was puréed in a food processor using just enough water to get the job done. The soup pot was cleaned out and the soup--a thick purée, really--was returned to the pot for finishing. It needed thinning, so I juiced six more carrots to produce about 1½ cups of juice. That did the trick nicely. Just ½ teaspoon of fleur de sel punched up the flavors a bit.
If you've been counting, you'll realize that I used carrots four ways in this soup: roasted, sweated, simmered, and juiced. None of them were peeled, so I extracted the maximum flavors and nutrients that this wonderful vegetable has to offer. You might also notice that I added only a small amount of salt and no other seasonings.
Nasturtium SaladCan't make Soup and Salad for supper without the salad that inspired me in the first place, so out to the garden I went, where I collected leaves from six different lettuces, some Italian parsley and cilantro, a few baby basil leaves, some peppermint, and the tomatoes that were ready to be eaten. Then I thinned out the nasturtiums a bit more, taking both leaves and blossoms. Rinse, tear, drizzle on some olive oil and balsamic, and dinner is served.
This meal was made entirely from the garden and left-overs from other meals. Total cost: zero! It also happened to be vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, which is a good thing, considering the chocolate mousse I made later.