Last year I tried to grow broccoli. I bought six starts and planted them in their own raised bed complete with soil amendments, irrigation and shade cloth.
Every morning with mug of coffee in hand, I checked on them. After planting in June, through the heat of July and into August they stood taller but somehow stunted.
Small leaves, thin stalks, tiny crowns forming. I fertilized and all but talked to them.
I do not look at broccoli the same now. I buy large heads of it at the store and I make stir fries devoted to broccoli. I steam the heads and insist the girls eat them.
Broccoli, always ready and waiting in the produce aisle. Always. From somewhere or another.
I dig back into the archives and find this post, A Broccoli Celebration, which includes statement:
We take broccoli for granted. It’s always around, army green, stalwart–and grown in Mexico. We make it a sideline, steaming it for a side dish or tossing it absentmindedly into a stir fry. “Whatever,” we say to broccoli.–this blog, July 3, 2009. [Wow.]
Broccoli for Soup
Earlier this spring, I started making a version of cream of broccoli soup with coconut milk and spoonfuls of a homemade green curry paste. When I didn’t know what else to cook, I made a pot of it. When I didn’t feel especially hungry, I ate a bowl of it.
Even when it got suddenly scorching hot and I had two tired, nearly molding heads of broccoli in my refrigerator, this soup is what I craved.
And so, despite the heat, I cooked up a pot since the only real work is chopping the broccoli and then walking away from the stove while the soup simmers for 10 minutes.
And that’s when I realized that this soup wanted to be chilled and served all summer long while other people’s homegrown broccoli matures, is harvested and fully appreciated.
As for me, I didn’t plant any this year although the broccoli starts at last weekend’s farmers market enticed me. Quite a lot.
Coconut Cream of Broccoli Soup
A Thai-inspired take on vichyssoise, this soup is especially good cold or at room temperature. And the coconut milk makes it both creamy and light. Of course, you can enjoy it hot when the season calls for it.
- 2 13.5-ounce cans coconut milk
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1-2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste depending on how much heat you like
- 1 pound (about 2 medium heads) broccoli crowns roughly chopped reserve stems for a stir fry
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- pinch sea salt
Spoon the coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and simmer until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the green curry paste according to your taste, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add the rest of the coconut milk, broccoli, fish sauce and salt. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, chop the basil leaves or for a chiffonade, roll a stack of leaves and slice with a sharp knife into very fine strips. Stir half of the basil into the soup and reserve the rest for garnishing individual soup bowls.
- Let cool to room temperature or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.