Hurry Up Spring Minestrone
I love New England, but when spring just keeps teasing us, I contemplate violence—Hurry Up Spring Minestrone helps. Unlike winter soups, this one cooks quickly, and your veggies will still have crunch. The broth is bright and open to interpretation, and you have loads of flexibility when it comes to the veggies in it.
I want something green!
Just as I’m stalking trees and shrubbery in the neighborhood, I’m also chomping at the bit for something fresh. While I can’t say that any of this was local, it did the job, and it took the chill off the day. I got my hands on some scallions, celery, leeks, fennel, asparagus, snap peas (OK fine, these were frozen), zucchini, English peas, asparagus, green beans, as well as baby spinach and chard. It more than did the trick for Hurry Up Spring Minestrone.
I had a can of cannellini beans and a few spices about. I added some lemon to the broth and garnished with fennel fronds and dill. That’s not exactly “minestrone;” it doesn’t have pasta, either. Still, delicious.
I had two bowls.
Choose your own adventure for Hurry Up Spring Minestrone
You might go in a different direction with a little pesto. I don’t think there are any wrong answers here, other than to find something to flavor the broth. I saw this Bon Appétit recipe, and I ground fennel and black pepper together for a base and would definitely do so again. However, I knew I wanted lemon and dill, so I didn’t add the chili or the miso. I also added a lot more veggies.
Don’t worry too much about measurements with all of this. You might want to cut the fennel a little bit smaller or add it a little bit earlier if you want it softer. Don’t add the English peas until just before serving.
A tip for bitter greens
One thing I didn’t do with any of the recipes was add the baby spinach and chard to the soup. I learned years ago that if you add the bitter greens to a soup, it will take over the whole thing if you have leftovers (and you will). As Hurry Up Spring Minestrone calls for the greens to be barely cooked, I just added a small handful of greens to the bowl and ladled soup over them. You could also quickly steam them separately.
Do your mis en place for Hurry Up Spring Minestrone
Hurry Up Spring Minestrone cooks very fast. Do all of your chopping ahead of time (you could chop the fennel fronds and dill while the leeks, fennel, beans, etc. simmer). There’s a lot of chopping, and it would be pretty easy to get caught out if it wasn’t done ahead.
Don’t let leftovers sit too long
The very thing that makes Hurry Up Spring Minestrone so delightful does mean that it won’t keep too long. It’s most tasty, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Hurry Up Spring Minestrone!
- Mortar and pestle
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2-4 scallions, chopped I root my scallions and keep them growing, and I tend to have multiple shoots, so I just used two
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 lemon two strips zested and then juiced
- 6 cups water or half water/half chicken or vegetable stock I used a bit of Better Than Bullion
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly; reserve the fronds Think a normal sized bulb (I used half of the large one in the post photos) This will still be crisp, if fork tender. If you like your fennel more cooked, cut it into smaller pieces.
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
- 1 handful sugar snap peas, halved on the diagonal
- 1 handful green beans, cut into pieces
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained
- 4 stalks asparagus, cut into pieces on the diagonal
- kosher salt
- 1 cup English peas
- 4 small handfuls baby spinach and chard 1 small handful per bowl
- dill, chopped to serve
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel and peppercorns together
- In a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold all the ingredients, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and spices, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened, but not taking on color (the spices can be a bit deceptive, so check the garlic itself and test for softness)
- Add the scallions and celery, and continue to cook. When they are softening, add the lemon zest strips. Continue to cook until the scallions have taken on color
- Add the water, the Better Than Bullion (if using), and juice of the lemon. Bring to a simmer
- Add the leeks, fennel, cannellini beans, snap peas, green beans, and zucchini. Season generously with salt (taste the broth first). Give everything a quick stir. Simmer until you can pierce the fennel with a fork. This will take about 5-7 minutes, for veggies that are cooked, but still crunchy
- Add the asparagus and cook for another two to three minutes. Add the peas, stir quickly, and then turn off the heat
- Add a small handful of baby spinach and chard to the bottom of the serving bowl. Ladle soup over the greens, wait a couple of seconds, and then stir. Garnish with chopped dill and fennel fronds