For some crazy reason lately I've been writing up recipes to honor my Chef amigas; people I love and respect. So here I go again. I absolutely love this recipe. There are two people who loom larger than life on the LA food scene, one is Evan Kleiman and the other is Jonathan Gold. Evan used to own the wonderful Café Angeli, now closed but she still speaks her mind on public radio and badgers the growers at the farmers market to raise interesting things for our delectation. This dish is based on something Evan did way back in '07 and I’ve continued to make, tweak and punish it with my own approach, changes and adaptations here and there but the key ingredients are spinach, mint and potato. Can you dig it? —pierino
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (and if you ever refer to it as EVOO I’m going to come down there and smack you with Maxwell’s silver hammer and it will leave a mark).
chopped sweet onion
1 or 2 large new, white potatoes.
1 green garlic head including tender green parts (if you can’t find garlic and you probably won’t, substitute 2 scallions and 2 garlic cloves)
2 bunches fresh spinach*
3 cups chicken stock preferably homemade. You can use boxed but I won’t respect you in the morning.
A big bunch of fresh mint, chopped
A bunch of cilantro, chopped. Sorry you cilantro sissies, but it’s essential to the flavor. Don’t leave it out.
Begin with ¼ olive oil in a large pan. Sweat down the chopped onion until translucent but not brown. Add the potatoes and garlic clove and continue to sauté After about 5 minutes of cooking time add your chicken stock and the green garlic (or scallion garlic mix). After fifteen minutes add your washed spinach, followed by the mint and the cilantro. Cover and simmer again. When your soup is cooked through and soupy, season it with salt and pepper.
Now, welcome to the devil’s workshop. Get out your big ass blender, not the wimpy one you use for making jagermeister margaritas. It should be sturdy. In batches puree the soup mixture. Never fill the blender up to more than half way when using hot liquids. And unless you want to decorate your kitchen in Jackson Pollack green, keep the lid on and hold it down with a towel and your hand while it’s running. Repeat as needed.
In a small pan heat up the remaining olive oil. Don’t let it reach the smoke point. To this add your pimenton. Meanwhile in a dry skillet lightly toast the pistachios.
Serve the soup into individual bowls and drizzle with the pepper oil. If you are using the pistachios sprinkle those on top.
*Evan used frozen spinach which is perfectly fine especially since you might be whipping this up when you are tired from work. So feel free to substitute.
**The name “Paprika” covers a multitude of sins. Most of the stuff out there is only good for adding color to deviled eggs. Such as your basic supermarket variety. You can find good Spanish pimentons (and there are many) through specialty markets. My preference here is for the piment d’esplette, because I think it suits the dish better.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.