Vegetarian Times (February 2014)
It's Valentine's Day, and, sadly, for those of you with a sweet tooth, we have no chocolate on offer.
We do, however, have broccoli -- obviously the most romantic of all the cruciferous vegetables. (Take that, bok choy!)
More germane to this recipe, this is a snowy Valentine's in our nation's capital. It's been a cold, wet, snowy winter so far. And that's had us in soup mode. Which is partly why we wanted to make this Sesame-Ginger Broccoli Soup from Vegetarian Times.
We have been eating the heck out of some broccoli -- roasting it, steaming it, sauteeing it. We're buying so much that our supermarket must think we're burning it for warmth.
So while we had a bunch of it on hand, we decided to churn out a batch of this soup. It was an easy sell -- It's a simple, less-than-30-minute soup. And we already had all the ingredients on hand, except for pickled ginger. Prep couldn't be simpler: Boil some broccoli, blend the broccoli with some water, add some spices, blend and simmer. Then you garnish with broccoli florets that simmer in the finished soup, long with ginger and sesame seeds.
But like a first date on Valentine's Day, we found this soup a bit awkward.
The florets used as garnish seemed unnecessary and hard to eat with a spoon. Same with the pickled ginger -- While it's a very pretty garnish, it was a little unwieldy. (There's already pickled ginger in the broth, and we love the flavor it adds. We're just not sure you also need more on top.)
But the soup itself has a very nice flavor. It's simultaneously comforting and light; it's rich but also clean and fresh-tasting.
If you make this soup, here's what we'd recommend: Follow steps 1 to 3 as written. When you transfer broccoli to the blender, short the amount of water suggested (we did and were glad) and double the amount of pickled ginger that gets blended in. Skip the florets and the pickled ginger on top. Garnish instead with sesame seeds and a bit more tarami or soy sauce.
You can't quite cuddle with soup, but this one will keep you warm.
30 minutes or fewer
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY
If you make this soup, here's what we'd recommend: Follow steps 1 to 3 as written. When you transfer broccoli to the blender, short the amount of water suggested (we did and were glad) and add double the pickled ginger, and skip the florets and the pickled ginger on top. Garnish instead with sesame seeds and a bit more tarami or soy sauce.
10 cups broccoli florets, divided
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. pickled ginger, plus more for garnish, plus 1 Tbs. pickling liquid
1 Tbs. toasted black and/or white sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Set aside 2 cups smallest, prettiest broccoli florets.
2. Bring 8 cups water, fresh ginger, and salt to a boil in large pot. Add remaining 8 cups broccoli florets; cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green and tender.
3. Transfer broccoli from water to blender with slotted spoon; discard ginger. Carefully add cooking water, tamari, oil, pickled ginger, and pickling liquid to blender. Purée until smooth.
4. Return soup to pot, and turn heat to medium-low. Add reserved 2 cups broccoli florets, and simmer soup 5 to 7 minutes, or until florets are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with pickled ginger and sesame seeds