I had to laugh a little when I saw the theme the wonderful (and fellow Portlander!) Michelle of Je Mange la Ville picked for July's Weekend Cookbook Challenge: Farmer's Markets! I don't think I'm going to shock anyone with the fact that I spent all day at the Portland Farmer's Market at the PSU campus, and had plenty of options for my submission.
I chose a recipe from the fabulous Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden by Jeanne Kelley. Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice has praised this book, calling it "one of the most beautiful cookbooks [she has] ever seen!" so, of course, I had to get a copy. I wanted something that would really highlight a single, beautiful seasonal ingredient, because that's what the farmer's market is all about - getting the best of the best when it's at its peak.
I picked up some stunning carrots at Groundworks Organics' booth this morning, as well as some local shallots and (amazing) goat cheese. The recipe, which I tweaked just a bit to feature my local ingredients, was originally a sweet carrot soup with a dill gremolata. I substitued lemon basil for the dill (for obvious reasons), left out the orange zest (sadly, no orange trees in Portland), and added a swirl of local cream, goat cheese crumbles, and capers.
A deceptively simple recipe, the few ingredients worked so well together, it's easily one of the best soups I've made. I especially loved the salty capers and goat cheese paired with the sweet carrot that is the star of this dish. I can't recommend this enough. It took no more than 35 minutes, almost all of that downtime waiting for the carrots to cook, and cost next to nothing. A bonus, the soup itself is really low-calorie, being made of only carrots, shallots, a bay leaf, and water! Which, of course, I negated with my liberal use of cream and goat cheese. It's so worth it, friends. Trust me.
Happy weekend, and remember... Eat Well.
Sweet Carrot Soup with Basil, Goat Cheese, and Capers
Adapted from Leanne Kelley's Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes
(serves 4 to 6)
3 tbs unsalted butter
2 large shallots, sliced
2 pounds fresh, organic carrots, sliced into rounds
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs minced shallot
1 tbs minced fresh basil
3 tbs whipping cream
2 tbs capers
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender and golden brown. Add sliced carrots, stir to coat with butter. Add 4 cups water and the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover for 20 minutes, or until carrots are very tender. Remove the bay leaves, and puree soup with an immersion or standard blender. Season with salt to taste. Divide into bowls and garnish with herbs, minced shallot, cream, goat cheese, and capers. Enjoy!