Early Summer Soup

It may not be early summer where you are, but here in New York, our seasons mostly align with the solar cycle. The Vernal Equinox heralded a string of warm, grey, drizzeling days during which the trees quickly sent out buds, the blossoms and soon leaves. With the Summer Solstice upon us we have already had a heat wave, the first cherries are in the farmer’s market and CSA’s have begun their deliveries.

This afternoon I attempted to leave work early and took a quick ride (less than 45 miutes to cover the 8 miles up Manhattan) up the bike path along the Hudson river to the church just two blocks from my apartment where the CSA I subscribe to has its Upper West Side pick-up location.

This week we had zucchini, yellow squash, mixed lettuce, garlic scapes, parsley, braising greens, turnips and broccoli! With paniers full of produce I headed home, trying to decide how to eat my way through it. I stil have some things left from last week, and eating your way through a CSA pick-up on your own can be bit daunting. I look forward to having Luis back to help me munch through all the beautiful vegetables.

Riding two minutes home (mostly spent at stop lights), my mind alighted on cream of broccoli soup. Something I never made for myself. The web offered a variety of options and as I organized and put away, and oggled the garlic scapes, I was reminded of a spread that one of my co-workers brought in to our staff-meeting potluck yesterday – onion, garlic scape and peas! Instead of cream of broccoli, creamless broccoli and pea soup sounded much more appealing. Light, summery, tasting fresh and bright.

Again with a few web suggestions, It worked out almost as well as I had hoped. Here is the recipe I will use the next time I make this soup.

Early Summer Broccoli & Pea Soup – 4 servings

  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 c. chopped broccoli stems and some florets
  • 2 c. of your favorite broth
  • 1 heaping Tbs oats
  • 1/2 c. peas (preferrably just shelled)
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, finely chopped
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. broccoli florets, cut very small
  • 1 – 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • parsley and lemon zest for garnish


1. Heat a large sauce pan, add the oil and then the garlic scapes and onions. Allow to cook slowly over low heat with the lid on while you chop broccoli.

2. When the garlic and onion are soft but not brown, add the broccoli, broth and oats. Turn up the heat slightly and let simmer uncovered until the broccoli start to look bright green. Add the peas and simmer another 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the lemon rind/zest and remove from heat. Puree thoroughly, taste for salt, add more water if needed.

4. Return to very low heat and add broccoli florets. Let heat until the florets appear bright green and are to your crunch preference. Mix in the lemon juice, remove from the heat and serve garnished with chopped parsley and additional lemon rind/zest.

I garnished my soup with avocado, feta, lemon rind and parsley. I admit, that was a bit of an overkill, and the feta added a touch too much salt for the delicate soup. It was still very tasty and I look forward to trying it a second time to see if I can get it right instead of almost right.

Here’s to summer, enjoy the longest day and the beautiful fruit of summer’s early harvest.

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