A really delicious fragrant soup that makes the most of the few greens available in January and February. Exceptionally tasty!
- 4 large heads of alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum (stems peeled)
- ?1 large parsnip?)?
- 1 bunch of wild garlic Allium ursinum or wild leeks A. paradoxum or A. triquetum
- ?6 strands of dulse? Palmaria palmata
- 2 onions
- 1 tbsp coconut oil?
- 2 litre of good stock?
- 1 tablespoon of birch bolete or porcini powder
- Salt and pepper.
- Use a potato peeler to lightly scrape your alexanders stems and wild parsnip root to remove the outer fibres. Trim any roots off the wild garlic.
- Chop the onion and gently fry until translucent in coconut oil.
- Then add the chopped parsnip. Fry for 3 minutes then add the stock and the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Take off the heat and cool.
- Once a little cooler, use a stock blender to blend the ingredients or, if very cool, transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Season with salt, pepper and a spoon of bolete powder.
- Reheat before serving.
- Garnish with a leaf spring of alexanders and some tiny wild leeks.
You can also make this using wild angelica or wild lovage later in the year.
Unlike many of the other Umbillifers in the family, alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum prefers the cooler months and will quite happily keep producing bright green leaf over winter from November on. After Spring, these become too woody to eat which makes it the perfect choice of foraged vegetable for early February. That is, if you can find it! While common down south it is not widespread in Scotland but can be found in Edinburgh, Fife and East Lothian.
For eating straight as a vegetable, peel the side stalks and cut off the smaller branching stalks, and together with the leaves, steam for 7 minutes. Then add butter, salt and pepper! Or try this lovely soup above.