12/2/09

How did the soup get so lovely green?

I was making the broccoli bisque last night at Chow, and had gotten it to the point where you just need to grind it, strain it, and serve it. I passed on the torch to one of the kitchen men, and headed home. I got in today, and poured myself a (generous) bowl of the stuff to kick off my day properly. Some chug soda, some drink coffee, I subsist on soup.

It was the most beautiful, vibrant green. I'd never seen such a lovely colour in a bisque style soup (such as broccoli, collard greens, kale, what have you), because the beautiful colour washes out when cooking the vegetable, and becomes an unappetising grey. To counteract that at home, I use turmeric, which gets the whole lot quite a lovely shade of yellow. At home, it's fine, because I'm using multiple different vegetables in one soup, and lots of coconut milk. Here, it's low in fat, and just broccoli and potatoes, spices, and onions and garlic. No tricks hidden up these sleeves!

Boss Man noticed me drinking in the beauty of the colour (and soon to be drinking in the soup itself, of course). He said, "Guess how I got that color?" (Being American, Boss Man speaks without the U in colour. I don't know how one speaks the U into the word, but there you are.)

"Uh. Fresh broccoli?"

"That would then end up the same drab color as the stuff was last night."

"Uh. Right. What gives?"

I know that he'd sooner fold up and leave town than use food dyes and the rest, so I knew that wasn't an option. I also couldn't really see how one could get such a brilliant shade of green without resorting to the artificial agents.

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

"Spirulina!" He looked triumphant.

It's healthy stuff, loaded with protein, loaded full with vitamins, and is a most lovely colour when added to vegetable soups that are supposed to be green. Just when you think you've got a handle on this cooking thing, you learn something totally new, and are reawakened to possibilities. It just takes a creative genius who's willing to think outside the box, and you're rewarded ten thousand times over.
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