Mustard Greens Soup and Foraged Mustard Flowers
Shrimp, Great Northern Beans, Fennel, Onion
Chicken Bone Broth, Parmesan, Lemon
I am surrounded by mustard. Literally. The unusually rainy Southern California winter season has turned our hillsides into a gorgeous brilliant yellow.
The black mustard (Brassica nigra) on my hiking trails in Rancho Palos Verdes is over 10 feet high in spots. It is breathtaking. But unfortunately not so great for the environment. This plant, a native of Europe, is short-lived and has a shallow root system hence cannot provide soil stabilization. Once the plants die out over the long hot summer, the dried stalks present a significant fire hazard. Worse yet, black mustard crowds out native species that provide critical habitat for natural fauna.
Looking on the bright side, black mustard is edible! The petite flowers are quite pungent and tasty like Coleman’s or Chinese mustard (not like French’s). Long hikes along the coast got me thinking of how to use the mustard flowers. Bon Appétit provided an inspiration for a basic mustard greens soup…
So I foraged several stalks of mustard flowers and hiked on home to prepare what turned out to be a surprisingly great, unique soup with depth of flavor, texture, and color. Mustard greens are really good, who knew? Hitting my foraging limit however, I purchased the washed and cleaned curly mustard leaves at the market.
Mustard Greens Soup with Foraged Mustard Flowers Recipe
- 2 T. olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 4 – 5 oz. mustard greens, stems removed, large pieces torn
- 4 c. chicken bone broth
- 15 oz. can great northern beans, drained
- 12 jumbo shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined, tail on
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- lemon zest
- lemon wedges
- parmesan, grated
- mustard flowers, rinse in cool water, drain on paper towels
Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and fennel, stir often and cook until the mixture just starts to color. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add mustard greens, cook, stirring often as the greens wilt. Add broth, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Add beans and return the heat to medium. Finally, add the shrimp. When the shrimp are cooked, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately topped with lemon zest, squeezed lemon wedges, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dusting of parmesan. Scatter mustard flowers over the top.