Herbs keep the flavor in all our winter cooking, but the first fresh herbs and vegetables of spring are always cherished. Not that long ago, I had my daughter out in the woods harvesting ramps with me for spring soups.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic – pressed
  • 1 bulb of finocchio (bulb fennel) – sliced
  • 6 large ramps ( or 3 leeks) – sliced
  • 6 cups broth (vegetable, chicken or water)
  • 2 FRESH bay leaves – bent in several places
  • pepper to taste
  • Any combination of finely chopped summer squashes, tomatoes, peppers or carrots.
  • Chopped fresh chervil and water cress
  • Lemon wedges

Sauté garlic, finocchio and ramps in oil for 20 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes more. Remove bay leaves and puree soup in food processor until smooth. Serve in individual bowls topped with garnish of raw vegetables, herbs and lemon wedges. Grate pepper to taste.

 

by Sandra Merrill