Spring Soups

March 24, 2011 10:39:14 AM PDT
It's time to start thinking about that beach-body again, and what better way than to cook low-fat and flavorful spring soups, all with in-season ingredients. Chef Carol Wallack from the Hawaiian-inspired Sola Restaurant in Chicago, shows us how to cook-up some tasty soups and salads, that will keep your body happy. Sola Restaurant offers a seasonal soup-of-the-day daily, so the ingredients are the freshest they can be.

sola restaurant Chicago
3868 N. Lincoln Ave. @ Byron
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 327-3868

Bio of Chef Carol Wallack: (property of sola-restaurant.com)

Carol Wallack's lifelong love of the Hawaiian sun and surf led her to open sola- a restaurant committed to celebrating the flavors and philopshies of Hawaii's unique culinary culture. It is that passion for Hawaii, the warmth of the beach and surf communities and the relationship with the sand and sea is what she embraces every day at sola. (...and that which fuels her as she powers through Chicago's long winters.)

"People want to be cared for..."

With this statement, sola's Chef/Owner Carol Wallack clearly states an innate sense of Midwestern hospitality that led this self-described "surfer girl from California" to open her first restaurant in Chicago.

Naturally, Chef Wallack found her lifelong professional calling while at the beach. "On a sunny day, I met Lisa Stalvey, the chef de cuisine of the original Spago," she recalls. "Two weeks later, I found myself working for her."

Chef Wallack's love of food led to her role as sous chef at Los Angeles' Camelions; and then private chef for the Hollywood set, including James Garner and Jack Nicholson...

Recipe for "English Pea and Green Garlic Soup"

Serves 8

2lbs english peas/shelled, shells reserved
2 ea. green garlic/ sliced in rounds and soaked in cold water for 10 min to clean the soil
1 ea. medium white onion/diced
2 ea. stalks of celery /chopped
1 ea. medium potato/diced
1lb spring spinach/ chopped and soaked in cold water for 10min to clean the soil
1 can thai coconut milk
1/2 cup sake
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

8oz lump jonah crab meat
2 Tbsp mint, chiffonade
2 Tbsp chives, chopped
1 lime/juiced
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp olive oil

For pea and garlic stock:
Combine pea shells , half of the peeled peas, 1/4 onion and 1/8 of green garlic in a pot. Add 1gal cold water and place on high heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15min.
Strain and set aside

In a soup pot combine onions, celery, green garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add sake and reduce by half. Add the pea and garlic stock and set the heat on high. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 min. Turn the heat off and add the peeled peas ,the spinach and the coconut milk. Puree in a blender after 10min/when peas are tender/ Heat up again or serve cold.

For garnish:
Combine crab, mint, chives and fish sauce. Mix gently and add lime juice , s&p to taste

Drizzle olive oil on the soup and garnish before you serve