Friday, September 21, 2007

Lavender Blueberry Soup

Manissa wasn't so keen on this soup, because she loves blueberries so much it seemed a pity to alter them so throughly. But I like the rich--almost tart--mulled flavor of this curious soup. It makes use of lavender, an interesting and underused herb, and can compliment any part of a meal. I've tried it as a dessert, with yogurt or a dash of sour cream; I've used it as a main, baking the strained, pulpy blueberries into a cornmeal crust (see "vegetable tartlets" for recipe).

Blueberry Lavender Soup

2 pints fresh blueberries (or more)
1 cup hearty red wine
3 cups water
12 ounces of local honey*
2 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender
juice and rind of three lemons (and orange juice, if you fancy)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
pinch salt, to taste

Put all in a stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with creme fraiche, fresh blueberries, lavender florets. Serve hot (on ice cream is nice) or cold (I used olive sourdough as a dipping bread--sounds weird, but it was quite lovely!).

*On honey--Dwayne Newcombe, of the Friday market in Union Square, has a lovely, darkly flavored bamboo honey which would pair really well with this soup. For a lighter note, try his linden honey. I used apple blossom honey from Toigo Orchards (my Sunday market in Tompkins Square), and accented it with manuka honey from New Zealand, as it is very velvety and rich.