Spring greens. Dark, coarse, strong in flavour. The first cabbages of the year. Big loose flapping leaves without the hard core of a cabbage. They are the ideal vegetable to transition between the heavy root vegetables of winter and the feather light salads of summer. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, it seems like there is nothing not to like. Except they feel like a worthy kind of vegetable. A bit like kale. Smug and worthy.
I have ambivalent feelings towards cabbage which stem from childhood plates of overcooked, sulphurous wedges of pale green cabbage, slathered with a watery gravy slowly seeping into mash potato, creating a soup of sodden flavourless mess.
In adulthood, I have tried to make friends with cabbage. Spring greens are an ideal gateway vegetable. But the ambivalence, the mistrust, the sensory memories just won’t make way for the open-mindedness needed to get beyond it.
And so I default to the tactic I use when I want to use up something quickly: blitz it up in a soup. This way, I can get the benefits and cheat the sensory memory which taints my enjoyment of anything cabbage related.
This recipe is pimped with wild garlic which provides a lovely earthy garlic undertone. There is a hit of ginger too which gives a subtle heat mellowed by the coconut. I feel like I am cheating a little. Not giving the spring greens a fair go. But, this recipe does make spring greens the main attraction and it actually delivers on flavour. There is no mistaking the spring greenness of it, but it is a fresh and vibrant flavour because I cooked the greens for about ten minutes. So, with this recipe, I have discovered that soup, rather than a default way to use something quickly and disguise its flavour, is actually the new gateway recipe for vegetables I have issues with.
1 head of spring greens, roughly chopped
1 handful of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped
2 leeks, chopped into rings
1L of chicken or vegetable stock
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
10g creamed coconut, chopped finely
Salt and pepper
In a pan, heat the oil and add the leeks. Sautee for about ten minutes, until soft, and add the ginger. Cook for about a minute.
Add the spring greens and stir through before adding the stock and cooking for about ten minutes. Add the wild garlic and stir through.