Yesterday I got up earlier than usual to go to the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market on a futile search for asparagus, which as it turns out will not arrive for another week or two. Of course, I still managed to score a lot of great produce. After reading this recipe for carrot soup on The Kitchn, I was especially keen to find someone selling carrots. The bunch I found was inexplicably young and bright; it seemed far too early to be this year’s crop of carrots, yet I couldn’t imagine overwintered carrots looking this good. So last night, after a long and tiring afternoon at my garden plot, I set about making this simple and delicious-sounding soup.
The first hitch was that the only ginger root I had in my kitchen had shriveled up into a stick, and I didn’t feel like going to the store. I thought about using powdered ginger, but then I remembered that I had some ginger sitting in the remains of a bottle of home-made infused vodka. To my surprise, the ginger pieces were still crisp and flavorful. I assembled the ingredients and followed the instructions.
Well, mostly followed the instructions. After taking this picture I decided to throw a parsnip into the mix, just for some extra flavor. The soup came together quickly, though it was very thick after I whirred it up with my blender wand. I thinned it out (yet also fattened it up) by pouring in some creamline milk without shaking, so it was more like adding half and half.
The soup was divine, but it called out for a little something extra. The recipe gives many suggestions for garnishes, and they all sounded intriguing. So I broke out some shot glasses and did a little taste test.
From left to right, the options were chopped mint leaves; ground cumin with cilantro; chives with a drop of sesame oil; parsley with lemon juice; and some crumbles of sharp, but creamy blue cheese.
The mint, oddly enough, was overwhelmed by the creaminess of the soup; I could barely taste it. The opposite was true of both the blue cheese and the chives/sesame combo. While tasty, these flavors were too strong and obscured the mellow carrot flavor. The runner-up was the cilantro and cumin, which complemented the carrot without masking it. I think especially on a cold autumn day, the warmth of of the cumin would be ideal.
But, because it’s spring, the winner was the parsley and lemon juice, which really brightened up the soup. Perhaps I should have known that with such a simple soup, a straightforward garnish would work better than a more avant garde one.