VEGETARIAN (IF MADE WITH VEGETABLE STOCK)
This is a tasty and highly nutritious soup that freezes very well. Feel free to substitute the nettles with other greens such as spinach, watercress or sorrel. For the best flavour, pick young new nettles that havenâ€™t been sprayed. Donâ€™t forget to wear gloves while picking and chopping! The sting goes out of the nettles as soon as they hit the hot stock. Like all green soups, this should not be left to simmer for a long time or it will lose its fresh green colour and flavour.
25g (1oz) butter or 2 tbsp olive oil
110g (4oz) peeled and chopped onions
150g (5oz) peeled and chopped potatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
600ml (1 pint) chicken or vegetable stock
600ml (1 pint) milk
350g (12oz) nettles, destalked and chopped
For the crostini
2 demi baguettes or 1 thin baguette, cut in half
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 smoked mackerel fillets (about 150g/5oz in weight)
4 tbsp crÃ¨me fraÃ®che
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp dill
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
1 Add the butter or olive oil to a large saucepan on a very low heat and when the butter has melted, tip in the onions and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 8â€“10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned.
2 Pour the stock and milk into the pan, bring to the boil and add the nettles. Cook, uncovered, on a high heat for about 1 minute until the nettles are just cooked â€“ donâ€™t heat them for too long or they will lose their fresh green colour. Remove from the heat and purÃ©e until smooth in a blender or using a hand-held blender. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180Â°C (350Â°F), Gas mark 4, and prepare the crostini.
4 With the baguettes running lengthways away from you, trim the ends of each loaf and then cut the remaining bread into six long thin slices. Arrange the slices on a baking tray crust side down and brush the olive oil over evenly. Bake in the oven for 6â€“8 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove and allow to cool.
5 Peel the skin from the mackerel and chop the flesh. Place in a blender with the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, lemon juice, most of the dill, chilli sauce (if using) and a little pepper. Blend for a few seconds until smooth. Taste and season with a little salt, if necessary.
6 When ready to serve, divide the mackerel pÃ¢tÃ© between the cooled crostini, spread evenly and sprinkle with the remaining dill. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, arrange two pieces of mackerel crostini on the side and serve.
Leave a Comment