Friday, May 21, 2010

Potage aux fanes de radis.

Has anyone here ever heard of radish leaf soup? I put the title in French because it just sounds so much more appetizing to whisper, potage aux fanes de radis. Mmmm. Monsieur J's mom has been telling us how good this soup is for a while now. I finally motivated to make it yesterday.

I think that final dose of Préfecture rejection is what pushed me to seek solace in soup. I typically reconcile myself with France's ridiculous bureaucracy via my stomach; it's the best way I've found to negotiate the rocky path to forgiveness. A warm baguette can heal most wounds.

I wanted something simple, soothing and inexpensive. Being reminded of the fact that you won't be working for at least another month doesn't exactly inspire extravagance. With radishes coming in at 75 cents a bunch, radish leaf soup fit the bill.

Full disclosure: I was never a huge fan of the radish when I lived in the States. They always looked so sad and forlorn sitting virtually untouched on the salad bar. In France I go crazy for radishes, from the little skinny red ones to the big scary looking black ones. It also helps that the French tend to eat their radishes with plenty of bread and salted butter. Who wouldn't like that?

I didn't know you could eat the leaves, but you can. And for two apartment dwellers with no way to compost, I finally felt like I was doing my part by not throwing these leafy greens in the trash.

The soup is simple: 1 shallot, 4 small potatoes, 1 bunch well-rinsed radish leaves, juice of 1 lemon, water, salt and pepper to taste.

We topped the soup with fresh mint from the balcony and crème fraîche. Spring in a bowl.


  1. I'd like to share a comment from one of my readers who subscribes my email:

    Yum Yum! Any green soup makes me feel healthy. I remember eating radishes AND really baby artichokes cru while living en Touraine. The family Melinda and I were living with grew the artichokes at their place in the country. It was a beautiful 17th century farmhouse and had a glorious garden. Still, there was no potable water, which used to totally baffle me. I mean, why on earth would anybody haul gallons of drinking and cooking water instead of digging a well or SOMETHING??? But the Jaudins had been doing it that way for as long as they had the place. Interestingly, they put in une salle de bain anglaise which meant bright orange fixtures, including the bidet and maybe a tub or shower, I cannot remember. We ate bountifully and then had to wash the dishes in water which Mme boiled or brought in jugs. Your soup gave me a happy memory!

  2. This is a timely post for me, as I bought seeds this morning, among them a packet of "Radish, French Breakfast," the picture on the package looking just like the radishes in your top image. We do have a compost pit, but that doesn't mean we can't try radish leaf soup. Thank you from Michigan.

  3. I have never had radish leaf soup and will try it. I love sorrel too and haven't had it in years since I have never been able to find it in LA.
    My sister lives near St Cirq lapopie and my niece near Cazeres (not too far from Toulouse).