A milestone birthday came my way last month, and to celebrate we threw a party–with house made margaritas. Now I can easily say no thanks to a margarita made with bottled mix, but if the recipe is pure tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice, that’s another story. And not just any lime juice, it must be key lime juice, or jugo de limones, from the smaller, sweeter limes of Florida and Mexico.
Our Latino market here in Park City sold me a case of fragrant limones—for $20. And the day of the party, my girlfriend Laurie came over and hand-squeezed them all. It took her 3 hours. In the end it was probably worth her sore wrist, because this month her husband celebrates the same milestone birthday and she has ample fresh-squeezed proper lime juice now stored in her freezer, ready for many more batches of house made margaritas. Ole! Ole!
What I am illustrating here is that you really must use the same limes for this soup, loosely based on Yucatan Lime Soup, famous where these limones are abundantly falling off the trees. Our Ranui Gardens CSA box this week contains sorrel, spinach, and green garlic and I have a temporary crown on one side of my mouth, so soup like this is in order.
Green Garlic, Spinach and Tortilla Soup
4 corn tortillas, preferably organic
Grapeseed or olive oil
1 bunch green garlic, washed and chopped in its entirety
2 serrano chiles, seeds and veins removed, finely minced
1 quart vegetable stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
¼ cup chopped sorrel leaves
1 cup chopped washed spinach leaves
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
¼ cup fresh-squeezed juice from key limes
Real Salt, as needed
Avocado slices, optional
Brush the tortillas with oil and cut them in strips, about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. Toast in the oven or toaster oven until just lightly toasted, which should take 4 to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the strips—they can quickly go from perfectly toasted to burnt. Set them aside.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot on low flame. Sauté until the green garlic is translucent but not brown, stirring often. Add the vegetable stock and the tomatoes, along with the bay leaves, thyme and cracked peppercorns. Bring the pot to a simmer. Add the sorrel and spinach and cook and stir another minute.
Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Add the lime zest and juice. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, garnished with the tortilla strips and avocado, if desired.