Monday, April 25, 2011

Garlic Mustard Soup

It feels so nice to have something so bright green to eat! Especially when it's from my yard. Nothing in my garden is ready yet, but that doesn't mean that green isn't filling up everywhere. I love it when the skeletal trees begin to fill up with a haze of green (in this instance, Robert Frost said it best), and all the houses and cars slowly begin to disappear from sight, until one day you can't imagine that anything is near you at all, bowered by a soft curtain of green leaves.

I decided to pull a large lush green bed of the invasive plant, garlic mustard, and make some soup with it on this rainy day. Eating an invasive is such a good idea! Try to pull the root out when you're foraging for it. Not only are you taking one for the team, but you're helping the poor ramp, because, not surprisingly, they are on the wane from being over harvested.

I love it when the outdoor cutting board starts to look like this again!
 This soup is very easy, but be warned: it is quite bitter. Not horribly bitter, but still. Do you like chicory and broccoli rabe? Then you'll like this. But if you don't like bitter greens, then you might want to cut the garlic mustard with some other greens that are more mild. It was a perfect after a long weekend of indulgent holiday eating. My family was in town for Easter, and we ate and drank a goodly amount: there was Italian antipasto, German charcuterie, lots of wine and an amazing roasted lamb. A spring time tonic was just what my weary system needed to get back on track.

In your soup pot, saute a crushed garlic clove in some olive oil. Add two large handfuls of garlic mustard greens that have been cleaned and put through the salad spinner. (I'd guess the greens loosely filled a quart measuring cup.) They will wilt down quickly and considerably. Add two large potatoes, peeled and diced. Toss to mix everything. Add two cups of water, and return to simmer. Then add two more cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat so it simmers, covered, for about a half hour. When the potatoes are sufficiently soft, puree with an immersion blender. Season with a good amout of salt, a dribble or two of cream if you like, and if it's on hand, a dose of preserved lemon syrup. Serve with a good hearty bread.


  1. Ah, too bad there's not garlic mustard growing around these parts--however, I LOVE the idea of actually making a soup with things in the yard. Maybe I'll look for wild garlic around here and make something of it.

    We were lucky to get some ramps from our CSA farmer's property this weekend, and I made the best potato-ramp soup out of it.

  2. Those greens are so bright and pretty, Jules. I have regular mustard greens that are ready to be used. Maybe I should try them in a soup.

  3. You know I love this, right? I've never foraged for garlic mustard; I'm not sure I know what I'm looking for. (I did pull some garlic chives from the yard the other day, though: free, tasty, green Spring food is the best!).

    You might have to come over and let me know if I have garlic mustard too! :)

  4. There was a garlic mustard chefs' challenge here over the weekend but I don't know how much is available here yet... It would be hilarious if they have to truck it in.

    I gather it's really good at cleaning up polluted industrial soil, by the way, so the invasive thing might not be so bad.

  5. Zemmely - Very lucky! That sounds great!

    Shae - Almost as pretty as those nasturtiums of yours. But not quite...

    Kaela - I'll bet it's all over your yard!! I gotta get there soon. I'm thinking garlic mustard frittata. Right?

    Sarah - REally?? That's so cool. I can FedEx them some, if need be.

  6. Love! I just made some foraged nettle soup and it was very gratifying on many levels. I'll have to look around for garlic mustard. Thanks for the info.

  7. Gluttonforlife/Laura - You are most welcome! Glad for your visit; I've been a fan of your blog for a long time. Do look for garlic mustard--I doubt you'll have to look long!

  8. yeah! i found some at the greenmarket and made this soup. and it is bitter, but i liked it. you're talking to the lady who drinks tonic water straight up.

  9. I found this recipe via Kaela at The Local Kitchen and it was made yesterday at the High Park Nature Centre's annual open house.

    Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that we struggle with at High Park (in Toronto Ontario Canada) and we often show kids how to properly remove it. Yesterday, during the open house, we went on a hike through the woods, pulling garlic mustard along the way. Once we were back at the Nature Centre, we made a pot of the soup and it was enjoyed by about 20-30 people. It was a HIT!

  10. Autumn - Woot! So glad you made it. And liked it!!

    Rebecca - You don't know how happy that makes me! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that not only you enjoyed this recipe, but that it was part of such a great, worthy event. Kudos to you!!

  11. just learned about garlic mustard and have been wanting to try it out - thanks for posting! Any other recipes for it or suggestions?

  12. Eve - it's so nice when you don't have to look so hard for something, right? A lot of folks make pesto with garlic mustard though I haven't yet done that...

  13. If you don't mind bitter and don't have the garlic mustard (and want free anyway) then what about dandelions?




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