What do you do with a broccoli forest in your backyard? One that looked like this when it was only half grown:
Well, it never grew the broccoli head (the part we usually eat), and the leaves were edible (we’d tried using them in mermaid’s tresses instead of bok choy), but it would take a bit of a famine to make me really enjoy them. It was time to give the garden bed to something more productive. The broccoli forest has been clear-felled: the leaves and thickest ‘trunks’ have been dug back into the garden bed.
All the cooks around here at Fiesta Friday will know those tender, thinner stems are truly delicious. So what else could it be? Broccoli soup with almonds and leek. It makes a delicious entree or even a light dinner: just have more if you’re still hungry!
Broccoli and almond soup
- ½ cup of ground almonds
- ½−1 kilogram of broccoli (stems or fleurettes, or both)
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 300 ml of milk (dairy or oat milk)
- salt and pepper
- 1 leek, thinly sliced and more finely chopped
- a handful of finely chopped almonds
- To make the stock: Simmer 1 litre of water with a carrot, an onion, some bay leaves and dried mushroom for about an hour
- Toast the ground almond: either dry fry it in a heavy pan for a couple of minutes, or toast in the oven (on some baking paper) for about 10 minutes.
- Toast the chopped almonds in the same way. Set them aside.
- Saute the leek in a little olive oil until it’s very tender, then add the broccoli and enough of the stock to cover it all. Simmer until the broccoli is really tender. This could take an hour if you use tougher stems, or 10 minutes if you use only the tenderest steams and fleurettes.
- Puree the soup, adding more stock as you go. You can use a blender (stick or benchtop) or a food processor to do this.
- Blend in the toasted ground almond and the milk. Puree/blend until it’s very smooth.
- Top with a sprinkle of the toasted, chopped almonds.
About those stems.Be fussy and choose only the most tender of the stems. If you get a bit gung ho and use some that are a bit more fibrous, you’ll find you need to rub the boiled stems though a colander to remove any insoluble fibrous bits. of course, if you buy broccoli heads from the shops and use only the fleurettes, then you won’t have to worry about this at all.