Instead of apple picking last weekend, we ended up at the San Rafael Civic Center Farmers Market – my favorite market in the Bay Area, even more than the SF Ferry Building’s market. One of the market’s most popular vendors – Tomatero Farms – carries some of the most spectacular greens at great prices: several types of kale, spinach, chards, collards, and my husband’s favorite, dandelion greens.
I didn’t grow up eating these greens, in fact, I recognized them as weeds when I saw the leaves unique shape. Often times people forage these pleasant, yet slightly bitter, super nutritious vegetable, and simply saute them with a bit of butter and salt. The nutritional benefits of dandelion greens are huge – vitamins A&K, calcium, riboflavin, and iron in great quantities – and they are also used as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and even for the potential protection from cancer.
Jules’ grandmother used to cook a similar soup for him when he was a kid, so when I made this dish for him for the first time, he was super happy about it. It makes a great lunch for a rainy day (like today) – the clear broth keeps the soup light, the chopped leaves let you have the satisfaction of something to chew on, and the egg and cheese provide a dose of protein that will keep you full, and the entire thing can be made in about half an hour!
Mamie’s Green Soup
2 T butter
5 cups of greens (dandelion, swiss chard, beet greens – or a mix of any of these)
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
6 cups of water
2 eggs, preferably pasture raised
4 slices of levain, toasted
salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter until melted. Add the leeks and saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, sprinkle with a 1/2 tsp of salt. Add the greens, stir well as the greens wilt, and then add the water and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste the broth at this point and add salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until well blended. Then turn off the heat, and add a ladle of broth into the eggs slowly, to temper them. Then add the eggs to the soup pot and stir. To serve, put slice of toasted bread (rubbed with garlic if you like) in a bowl, then top with the greens, broth, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.