Wild Leek Soup with Mâche Salad

Langenargen is beautiful when the sun shines. As of late, the weather has been a roller-coaster with temperatures rising and then dropping by 10 degrees celsius every other day. When the sun is out everyone is walking the promenade enjoying the warm temperatures, as well as the glorious views. However when the sun is gone, and the rain has come with winter temperatures, everyone hides in their warm homes or cafes, leaving the town very empty.Yet these highs and lows are common of April weather. Frustrating for those on spring break, the weather is perfect for the plants and flowers in the Lake Constance region.

The Swiss Alps
Wild leeks, also known as ramps, are now found in every shaded forest here in Germany. They cover the ground like a green blanket, waiting for the locals to harvest them. As the start of spring weather arrives so do the wild leeks, and all the health benefits they carry along.

Fresh wild leeks (ramps)

High in sulfur containing compounds and flavanoids, wild leeks are great for cancer prevention and for boosting the immune system. In addition they are high in Vitamin A and C, both antioxidants, and Vitamin  K, which helps the clotting of blood. Wild leeks have been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal plant in blood tonics, for ease in digestion, and even for atherosclerosis.

In order to harvest these wonderfully healthy and flavorful spring treats, you must bring with you a small shovel, some garden gloves, a basket, and wear long pants and sleeves. Ticks are often found in the forests of Germany and can cause serious diseases, therefore make sure to dress properly. Also, wild leeks can easily be mistaken for Lily of the Valley, which is very toxic when eaten. To be on the safe side, please make sure to educate yourself or go with someone who has prior knowledge. If you are uncomfortable with foraging in the woods, you will most likely find these treats at local farmers markets.

Wild leeks have a strong garlic/onion taste, making them a great addition to many savory recipes. You can use them in soups, in omelets, in casseroles, pretty much anywhere you would commonly use spinach.

Mâche Salad
Today I chose to use the wild leeks in a soup served with a delicious mâche (lamb's lettuce) salad. The whole table looked like spring with the fresh green color of the soup and salad.

Wild Leek and Potato Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 bundle Wild Leeks (washed and roughly chopped)
3 medium sized potatoes, washed and diced
2 shallots, diced
2 slices prosciutto, cut into small pieces (optional)
750 ml vegetable broth
100 ml cream
1/2 lemon juice
2 Tblsp olive oil/coconut oil/butter
1 Tblsp honey
splash apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

1.  Heat oil in a medium soup pot and add the shallots, prosciutto, and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow the shallots to turn glassy and the prosciutto to turn crispy. Stir with a wooden spoon.
2.  Add the wild leeks to the pot and allow them to saute until wilted. Fill the pot with vegetable broth until the potatoes are covered. Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes.
3.  Once the potatoes are soft they are done and you can remove the pot from the burner. Place the pot onto a hot pad and with an emersion blender, puree the soup.
4. Place the pureed soup back onto the burner on low heat and stir in the cream. Then add the lemon juice, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with bread and butter...and of course a salad.

Side Note: To garnish the soup you can top with additional sauteed onions, croutons, or even a drizzle of cream. 

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