Red Radish and Arugula Soup — Soupe à la roquette et radis roses

Vive les radis!

Recipe selection, you, not you!

I came to question what makes me choose to make certain dishes over others. What is it exactly that makes me go mad and drive across town, call around every possible local market, in order to get a special ingredient to make a dish. Yes I do those kinds of things. I am hearing that people call it obsessive behavior but whatever it is, I just think that when comes the time by which the dish is served on the table, nobody calls it any names anymore. P. just smiles and looks happy. Easy to make a man happy, no?

The recipe case

We all love our cookbooks, and many of us do not seem to ever have enough of them. I am one of those. In the end, I think that this is a good business sign, should the case arise that any of us ever considers writing one. We can all dream. In the baking profession, there will always be the need for bread. Life with no bread is cruel. No cookbooks, ah mais non alors (No!), we need them. So while P. reads his techie books , I read cookbooks, food magazines and recipes like I read novels or short stories. I take my cooking reading material with me every night when I go to bed, as if it were a precious friend who will accompany me in my sleep. While some people dream of a newer car or who knows what, I dream of the rabbit I need to order, the Thai aubergines I saw at the local market or the new egg topper I want to try. My cookbooks and my food magazines create this kind of chemistry into the French girl that I am. And so my memory is full of recipes I promise I will try.

But of course I am sure we all agree that there are cookbooks and cookbooks. Even in cookbooks I love, there are always recipes that just do not catch my eye, those forgotten ones that I will end up never making. There are different reasons that can explain this choice but only one that takes precedence on all : the picture. Does the recipe have a good picture if there is any? Yes? No? Is it nice? Boring? Dark? Colourful? Springy? Summery? Does it touch my palate?

Pictures are a trigger point. If I like the picture, then I want to make the dish. It is as simple as this. Even before I know what ingredients are required in the dish. Then I read the required steps, and it is worth noticing that I *always* read the entire recipe in one go, since I believe that it is a *big* mistake not to. Then I answer the question: “follow, or not follow the steps”, and decide whether I need or not to adjust the ingredient list and adapt the recipe. There are those times when I stick to the recipe, word for word, but most of the time, I create my own.

The picture and a key ingredient triggered my cooking fancy

In my family, traditions are important, especially when it comes to food. We can very easily remember a meal we had 10 years ago in detail. I did not choose to be this way, I am just like the apple falling not far from the tree, that’s all. The smell and the colour of certain foods create this world and Radish belongs to it. A tiny little thing but with such a strong flavor. It can get so strong that it goes all the way up your nostrils (I hope you have had this experience to know what I am talking about)! Spring is the prime time for radishes and I remember very vividly when my mum would walk in the kitchen with a basket full of the first Spring radish. “Voilà les premiers radis de la saison”, she would proudly say (Here are the first radishes of the season). That made us so happy. I was always entitled to have the first one and I felt happy to beat my brother in getting that prize. Tiny, small radishes sticking out of the basket, boasting a nice light pinkish red colour, against which we would stick our nose to inhale the smell: we were smelling spring. We had a very simple way to eat them, which I think is still the best way to appreciate their fragrance: a nice piece of buttered baguette and a dash of salt. The combination of those ingredients is still very clear in my memory, and just writing about it makes me salivate.

This year, spring has only started, very shyly to say the least. But I just could not resist the first radish I recently saw at my local market. As soon as I saw them, I right away remembered a recipe picture seen a few weeks ago that I promised to try. You will probably guess what happened next. With the prime ingredient and the beautiful recipe memorized, I simply had to adjust it and use my imagination to make what follows:

Red Radish and Arugula Soup

You need:

  • A bunch of fresh red radish
  • 200 g fresh arugula
  • 3 celery branches
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Chervil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Celery salt
  • Goat cheese
  • A dash of heavy cream or crème fraîche
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Fleur de sel

Steps:

  • Wash the arugula and peel the potato.
  • Chop the shallot and celery branches thinly.
  • Heat the butter in a large pot and when hot, add the shallot.
  • Cook for 1 mn without browning and add the celery.
  • Cook for 2 to 3 mns, then add the arugula and let reduce, until it gives water.
  • Then add the potato cut in big pieces.
  • Add 500 ml water, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for about 15 to 20 mns, until all vegetables are soft.
  • Mix the vegetables with a hand processor.
  • Add chopped fresh chervil.
  • Pour in individual cups, add celery salt and a dash of cream.
  • Toast slices of brown bread (or baguette) and cut long rectangulars.
  • Spread goat cheese on top and add slices of radish.
  • Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Adapted from a recipe from Elle a table magazine.

Posted in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Soup, Vegetarian | 29 Comments

29 comments

  1. je ne me lasse pas en plus hier j’ai fait une recette avec de la roquette mais au final au lieu d’être toute verte avec une pointe de rouge, la mienne est l’inverse toute rouge avec une pointe de vert.

  2. What colors! What an eye-popping photo!! Bea, you’ve done it again with another great post that had me laughing at obsessive behavior. I know that what you mean…and my problem is that I love recipes with unsual sounding ingredients. Lately I’ve been chasing down sources for sataw, otherwise known as stinky bean. (!)

    The fact that you adapted this recipe from Elle magazine gives me enough reason to try it. Beau-tee-full!

  3. J’adore le concept de la tartine sur la soupe!
    c’est joili, bon et ca sort de l’ordinaire!

  4. I read cookbook like i read novel, like you… I know this recipe and i can say your pictures are more beautiful than its Elle magazine…

  5. Hello Bea, i agreed pictures as a trigger point, one of my friend buys cookbooks only when they have colored photographs! I am looking forward to buy one of your cookbooks to come .. ahahh!! (Soon to publish) .. who knows!

  6. In Italy this fresh red radish called RAVANELLLI…!!
    I love it…
    And the photo it’s very very beautiful… !!!

  7. Rest assured, there are plenty of others as obsessive as you, if not more so! Not that I (cough) necessarily see myself among them… Okay, okay, I do! I actually can’t remember the last time I picked up a book to read for entertainment that wasn’t a cookbook! And I’m certainly not a stranger to planning my weekend around sourcing the ingredients for a single dish. Anyway, I think you’re absolutely right about the picture playing such an important role and your photo here is absolutely gorgeous – this soup seems like the essence of spring… If only the weather here would match!

  8. Malices, merci bien

    Lilizen, ahaha oui c’est le printemps!

    Anne, je veux la voir, montre-la

    Rowena, this is funny! I can easily imagine you chasing some special ingredient to make a wondrous dish!

    Anne, merci!

    Fabienne, you are too nice ;-)

    Relly, ahahah, I wish I could publish something! Need to work at it ;-)

    Liza, merci, trop gentille!

    Sandra, miam, cool, I am going to learn Italian, more more please!

    Fred, merci bien!

    Ahah Melissa, no problem imagining your addiction! I am SO much suffering from the same thing, have two started novels that I cannot finish. Better start over as I probably forgot most of what they say. When I think i came back from NZ with at least 4 new cookbooks and 7 food magazines. I am crazy! Hope Spring comes to you soon. Today is one of th true first days I can have the kitchen backdoor open and that feels good!

  9. Je n’ai jamais essayé la soupe à la roquette. Une drôle d’idée comme quoi ce serait fibreux ! Je vais tenter. Merci.

  10. Hi Béa,

    This is such an interesting recipe. We grow arugula in our garden every summer and consume tonnes of it, but I have never had it in soup form.

    I also really liked your points about cookbooks and pictures and the emotional link to recipes. I agree completely. A picture is so often the key to inspiring you to make a recipe!

  11. Hi Bea,

    What a lovely soup. I am addicted to radishes too! They are one of my favorite spring veggies.

    Cheers,
    -Helen

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  13. Comme quoi, le goût c’est une question d’éducation ! Mes parents avaient un jardin, et les premiers légumes qui sortent de terre ce sont les radis. Alors les premiers radis, c’est quelque chose !
    Cette soupe se mange-t-elle chaude ou froide ?

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