I live a little less than a mile from the Union Square Greenmarket, which, if you're not familiar, is an open-air farmers market in NYC that is open a few days out of the week. It's where I get most of my produce.
On Mondays, I strap on some comfy shoes, grab my reusable bags, and walk (or bike) over there with my list of produce for the week. I've been doing this for several months now, so I have started to know the market well, along with some of the vendors and farmers. I have my routine down and my favorite stops.
Mondays have become my favorite day because the market is slightly less crowded in the early morning, and a couple of my favorite vendors are there on that day. One place has quickly become my #1 favorite, because they're organic produce is some of the best looking, and they always have have fun things like watercress micro greens and romanesco cauliflower.
The other day, I picked up a gorgeous head of broccoli and several cauliflower heads from them, and as I was checking out I had a little conversation with a woman who runs the farm. She told me how hard it was to organically grow broccoli and cauliflower and that in order to keep them safe from little critters without spraying them, she (herself) would go around and pick off little munching caterpillars and bugs by hand.
Really? Wow. Awesome. That's some serious dedication.
I told her that there were no words to express how much I appreciated that. I thanked her and walked away feeling grateful that there are people out there, like this lady, who care so much about the quality of food that they provide for people. She rocks.
Cauliflower has been on my grocery list pretty much every week since the Fall came around. I cannot seem to get enough of it. But this soup was not originally about the cauliflower. It actually started with the sage.
Last weekend before making my market list, I had harvested the last of the herbs from my garden - half to be frozen to use in smoothies, and the other half I was going to dry. But as I was cutting my herbs, I realized I had so much sage. So much. Probably because I hardly used sage in the summer, but now the sage needed my love.
I've beena little obsessive with the sage over the past week. Sage with roasted vegetables, sage in salad, fried sage. Yes, fried sage. It sounds un-healthy, but it really is not. Lightly frying sage just makes it a crispy and flaky and mellows out the sage-ness, so it goes really well over soups and salads.
When it comes to soup and most other things, I like lots of toppings. I love the contrast in tastes and textures. Every bite is something different, so it keeps things interesting. This soup has a lot of toppings, starting with that insanely tasty fried sage. You can add more or less depending on your tastes, but I'd err on the side of more. You'll be happy you did.
Cauliflower, sage, and hazelnuts are all such signature tastes of Fall, when you put them together, it's like a Fall explosion. They were all meant to be, together, in one big bowl, especially around this time of year.