Wednesday, August 10, 2011

(could be) gordon ramsay's broccoli soup.

it's been a british kind of month. the reasons (note: only the first one approaches legitimacy):

1. i took a weekend trip to london to visit my cousin.

2. netflix has offered up instant viewing of all six seasons of gordon ramsay's kitchen nightmares.
3. i'm now on season 3 of the above mentioned show.

while there's always been a warm and fuzzy place in my heart for jamie oliver, whose endless optimism and jolly cockney slang i try and replicate in my own kitchen, i'm growing to appreciate the edgier - if not more fowl mouthed and offensively sexist - form of entertainment gordon ramsay offers. 

for those unfamiliar with his kitchen nightmare gig, it involves ramsay roaming the homeland searching for failing, disgusting restaurants on the verge of shutting down. he shows up as a charmingly sassy knight in shining armor to save the day by teaching their owners to, for instance, reduce the menu from 130 items to 15... or not to serve a dish featuring shrimp and a chocolate dipping sauce. sometimes he teaches the head chef how to make an omelette.

amazingly, through the use of simple lessons ("keep it f%#*ing simple!"), he gets them back on track to culinary success! it's inspiring, horrifying, and a great way to make yourself vow to never again eat in a restaurant with a dirty bathroom: if they can't keep that clean, then what's going on behind the scenes with your food?! 

even though i'm sort of hooked to the series (surprise surprise), the only downer is that i rarely learn any recipes or techniques from it. i mean, there are certainly cooking tips to be picked up - and my knowledge of how to run a kitchen staff has gone from none to slightly more than none - but it's uncommon that i'm brimming with new recipe ideas after an episode (or six).

that is, until a most recent episode, in which ramsay challenged some "twat" chef to a broccoli soup cook off! while his opponent whipped together some "bloody mess" using 11 ingredients, ramsay's soup consisted of a mere 3: broccoli, water, and salt. 

inspired by the simplicity, i took a gander at it the other afternoon. the only thing is that the whole sequence of him making this soup was about 20 seconds. he did explain the steps (recipe below), but details about measurements and timeframes weren't exactly explicit. which is why my broccoli soup may or may not actually be the one he was referring to. in any case, it was delicious! the broccoli flavor is bold and the soup is simple, super quick to make (tops 7 minutes!), as rich as can be in vitamin c, and surprisingly filling. while i might transform this next time into a 4 or 5 ingredient soup with a touch of garlic or a sprinkling of cilantro, i will definitely be making it again. and maybe, just maybe, dissuading ramsay from infiltrating my kitchen next season.

3-ingredient broccoli soup

1 head of broccoli, stem and all
1 large pot of water
1 tablespoon of salt (or more to taste)

chop up your broccoli. the smaller the pieces, the better. bring a pot of salted water to a boil. blanch the broccoli for about 3 or 4 minutes, until bright green. 

now here's the key part. the water you just used for blanching has formed a broccoli broth. so when you drain the broccoli, drain it over another pot where you will keep the broth. then, working in batches, add some of the broccoli and the broth (depending on how thick of a soup you'd like) to a blender. blend until smooth or slightly chunky. return finished soup to a pot to keep warm and salt.

enjoy with a chunk of toasted bread and an episode of kitchen nightmares.