Chosen Bites: Season's greetings

As the weather heats up and spring turns into summer, Garlic and Baby Spinach Soup is a refreshing start to any meal.

Spring Garlic and Baby Spinach Soup (photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Spring Garlic and Baby Spinach Soup
(photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Spring garlic and spinach are a seasonal treat. Spring garlic is one of my favorite early season finds. Tender green shoots and a bulb with tiny cloves that do not require peeling and a very soft and sweet garlic flavor.
Early season spinach is mellow and sweet. The leaves have not yet been beaten by wind, rain and lots of sunshine. They are as sweet as a spring day.
This soup is bright green. Almost alarmingly bright. To keep the color, once the spinach has been pureed into it, do not blast the soup over high heat. Go slow and very gentle with heating the soup. Serve immediately. The soup is also delicious chilled and can be made dairy and garnished with a dollop of sour cream. 
Spring Garlic and Baby Spinach Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil6 stalks of green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)1 small white onion3 tablespoons flour6 cups vegetable or mild chicken broth4 cups baby spinach leaves
1. Heat a medium saucepan, with the olive oil, over medium heat.Add the green garlic, onion and salt and freshly cracked pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic and onion are soft and translucent.
2. Add the stock, raise the heat a bit, and bring it to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove. Let it sit for five minutes – not too long, or the spinach will lose its color – and then, working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender.
Remember never to fill the blender more than a quarter or a third full, because the hot liquid will expand when you turn on the motor. The soup should be a rich shade of green and very smooth.
3. Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm or hot, with a drizzle of olive oil and tiny croutons.
Tiny Herbed Croutons
Several slices of bread, (left over halla works for this) crusts cut off and sliced into tiny cubes (about ¼ inch)1 stalk green garlic, minced1 tablespoon chopped parsley2 tablespoons Olive oilSalt and pepper
1.    Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toss the bread cubes with the olive, garlic and salt and pepper.
2.    Cook the bread in the pan for about 3-5 minutes until the bread is golden brown and crisp.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.