Broccoli, Lemon and Parmesan Soup

November 12, 2012

In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Merrill finds dinner inspiration on a sign at a local coffee shop, and does them one better. This story was produced in partnership with our friends at Tumblr's Storyboard.

broccoli soup

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- Merrill

My mother has a line she pulls out whenever she eats something she likes and gets excited about trying to recreate at home. She says: "Okay, it's time to diagnose, and reproduce!"

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Over the years, I have diagnosed and reproduced countless dishes myself -- everything from salads to crostini to lobster pasta. Recently, I found myself one degree of separation further from the original dish than usual. On a walk through our neighborhood, I ducked into a coffee shop to grab a cappuccino and saw this scrawled on a small chalkboard: "Soup of the Day: Broccoli, Lemon and Parmesan." Damn, I thought. That sounds delicious. I didn't have time to taste it (they said they needed to reheat the soup, and I had an impatient 8-month-old and husband waiting for me outside), but that didn't stop me from making my own version at home that night.

broccoli soup

Not content to appropriate just the entire concept for the soup, I decided to make the base for the soup by modifying this recipe for slow-cooked broccoli with garlic and anchovies. (Incidentally, this is my new go-to technique for pretty much all vegetables, as it's great for babies just learning to eat solid food.) I left out the anchovies and chilis because I didn't have them on hand. Once the broccoli was soft and velvety, I added some chicken stock and simmered the soup for barely five minutes. I pureed half the liquid, keeping the rest chunky, and stirred in generous handfuls of grated Parmesan and enough lemon juice so that you could really taste it.

  broccoli soup

I've made this soup several times now, and it never fails to please. Try adding a couple of anchovies and chilis if you like -- they add some pizzazz. And don't forget hunks of crusty bread to sop up the last swirls of soup.

Broccoli Soup with Parmesan and Lemon

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 lemon

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

broccoli soup

Photos by Linda Xiao


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.


Irene L. June 23, 2013
I made this soup but modified the recipe... I am interested in getting Merrill's input - I grow brocolli - the variety is much darker, the florettes are smaller, the leaves and stocks are soft - it tastes more like a brocollini. I juiced the brocolli parts and put the pulp an juice back in the soup. It was very strong and I almost threw it away. I decided that my ingredients were the best quality and very fresh and did what any good cook would do... worked with the recipe. I added some finely diced celery and carrots, thinking it would add some sweetness to play down the strong brocolli flavor. It worked but the soup is still a bit strong. What would you have done, Merrill, to remedy this problem? Perhaps par boiling the brocolli took some of the bitter flavor out - we do with with bitter mellon before sauteing. Thanks in advance, Irene
goofythedog November 19, 2012
Trying it tonight. Can't wait to see how it tastes!
anneedoc November 19, 2012
Love this website. Am always inspired by your comments and recipes. Presentlly have a condition which limits fodmaps, so looking for ideas and inspirations. Thanks a million.
Amy G. November 12, 2012
I had some broccoli in my CSA box and made this today, it is delicious. I used an immersion blender just briefly and it left some chunks of broccoli.
Merrill S. November 12, 2012
Glad you liked it! The immersion blender is a great alternative.
fiveandspice November 12, 2012
Damn! This sounds delicious. :) As soon as I'm back to a kitchen, this will make an appearance. Can't wait!
Merrill S. November 12, 2012
NakedBeet November 12, 2012
I was just looking for something to do with my broccoli and wanted to make a soup, this sounds perfect, glad it was featured!
Merrill S. November 12, 2012
Hope you like it!
thirschfeld November 12, 2012
Merrill S. November 12, 2012
Thanks, Tom!