For me, this week’s ffwD recipe was more about cautious optimism than joyful cooking. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed making this dish, but the numerous pitfalls that I could see while “mapping out” this recipe in my head seemed cumbersome and left me feeling antsy until I was actually in the kitchen cooking.
The recipe started off easily enough. I included the onion, carrots, leeks, pre-sliced button mushrooms and pre-washed spinach.But, after the surprising success of the organic eggs and purple passion asparagus two weeks ago, I wanted to incorporate them as well in this soup. Herein lies the problem. First, the purple passion asparagus, while tasty and fun looking, lost its main attraction, the purple color, after only two minutes in a microwave steam. In my unfounded need to keep some form of purplish color, I saw a sign at the farmers market that said, “Blue Russian potatoes–Will keep their color even after mashing and in salads.” Well, this sounded promising, so I purchased half a pound for fifty cents, hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed with total color loss.Next came the organic eggs. Still relatively new to poaching and eating runny eggs, I felt it necessary to again purchase fresh organic eggs. I explained to the woman behind the stand that I still had some trepidation with poaching eggs, and she suggested I make an Arzac egg, where the egg is poached while enclosed in a cling-wrap pouch. She said this method would take away the possibility of yolk breakage.
Finally, I wanted to add some fish to my soup, just in case the eggs turned out to be a disaster. But, after flipping through three different recipes that Dorie refers to, I couldn’t ascertain whether to put the raw tilapia directly into the vegetable broth or cook it beforehand in a different pan. I took a gamble, patted the fillet quarters dry, and gently slipped them into the broth at the same time I added the asparagus and mushrooms.
Overall, I probably over-thought this soup and made it more complicated than necessary. I mean, it’s only soup after all. I’ll chalk it up as an occupational hazard of being an attorney. The soup’s flavor turned out quite delicious, and the texture was velvety with the egg yolk mixed in, so I’m glad I didn’t skip it. The blue Russian potatoes kept a hint of their color, which pleased me immensely. And, the Arzac egg was really quite simple. No broken yolks when I unwrapped the plastic cling!But, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried how this dish would turn out. In which case, I had a frozen pizza on standby! And, on a side note, the day I made this soup, the weather in Chicago had dropped in temperature to the mid-60s. So much for “warm weather”!
To see other bloggers’ warm weather vegetable pot au feu, head over to French Fridays with Dorie. As usual, the recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.