This soup couldn’t be any easier to make and follows my philosophy of making fresh, delicious and beautiful food. I’ve been making this spinach soup for years. It’s a recipe from the lovely Mollie Ahstrand, chef & owner of Trattoria Mollie in Montecito (you can get her cookbook here).
This recipe works if you’re trying to eat healthier this month – who isn’t? However, this is a tasty stunner – it was the first course for our family Christmas dinner.
There are a few tricks to keeping your soup vibrant green and tasting fantastic. If you shock the greens in a bath of icy water after cooking it will keep things bright. Also, if you really want to pile on the greens, go for it. I’ve mixed in other greens and even made this with a full two pounds of spinach and it worked every time.
Watch out for rosemary this time of the year, it can get a little strong and sticky. Taste as you go on the front. Adding a little cream at the end is the best, but not mandatory. Don’t skip the Parmesan, it adds such great flavor and texture Hmm…anything else? I swear this is easy!
Oh yes, Mollie’s recipe uses water, but I find that stock brings a fuller flavor to the soup in these winter months. If you do go the water route, season with extra salt. Just don’t use the blanching liquid; you will have bitter ass soup!
And lastly a kitchen safety tip: when adding the brandy, pour the measured amount into a cup and then add it to the hot pan. This saves you from the entire bottle catching fire. I’ve never seen it happen, but it’s always best to be safe over scorched.
Mollie’s Spinach Soup
Serves 6 as a starter
1 lb spinach
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced shallots, about two shallots
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons brandy
4 cups veggie or chicken stock (best quality, preferably home made)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
Thinly sliced Parmesan cheese – use the good stuff and thinly slice it
Top shelf olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt the water as you would if you were making pasta. Once the water comes to a boil add the spinach and cook for two minutes and strain into a colander. Return the empty pot to the stove. (See my tip above to keep the spinach vibrantly green above.)
Add the oil and butter to the hot pan. Once the butter has melted and becomes foamy add the shallots, garlic and rosemary to the pan and cook on medium until the shallots are translucent and just beginning to turn golden brown. Next, add the brandy and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the spinach and stock and bring to boil.
Once you reach a boil pull out the rosemary and puree until completely green. You can do this with an immersion blender, a regular blender or best yet, a Vitamix. While you blend add the cream if using. Taste for seasoning. Garnish and serve.