Summer Vegetables in a Herb Nage

20 July 2005

When we got these lovely vegetables from our neighbour friend Peter, who grows all sorts of things in his nearby allotment, I was thinking about making minestrone with pesto – but I just remembered a gorgeous sounding recipe from Starters by Shane Osborn, which is one of my favourite books at the moment. (He is the head chef of Pied a Terre on Charlotte Street in London – I’ve been wanting to try the restaurant but they had a serious fire last year and it’s still closed. It should be open fairy soon though.)

It’s very easy, but you need to make the herb nage a day in advance… it is worth it, though! It’s basically a herby vegetable stock – I didn’t add star anise like the recipe suggested as I didn’t want too much aniseed flavour in there. I thought the fennel and tarragon would give enough aniseed flavour and it was just about right for my taste. You can use any seasonal vegetables for this recipe – for autumn/winter, root vegetables like parsnips or swede would be good. I quite liked the butter and lemon finishing touch too. I’m just happy to have such fresh, flavoursome vegetables, what else would you want? (well, I might actually need a dessert, please…)

BTW, Peter also kindly gave us his 10 year old maple tree for our new garden, it’s about 7 feet high and looks absolutely gorgeous!

serves 4-6

herb nage
3 onions
6 carrots
3 leeks, white part only
2 fennel bulbs
3 celery sticks
3 shallots
6 tarragon sprigs
6 parsley sprigs
1 tsb coriander seeds
12 black peppercorns
4 star anise

summer vegetables
120g podded peas
120g podded broad beans
1 bunch of asparagus (about 12), trimmed
1 bunch of baby carrots (about 12), trimmed and scraped
12 new potatoes, scrubbed
few young celery sticks or baby leeks, trimmed

to finish
100g butter, chilled and diced soft
squeeze of lemon juice
chopped parsley or chervil, or celery leaves

herb nage
Peel roughly chop all the vegetables, place in a large pan and add enough cold water to cover. Add the herbs and spices. Cover the surface with a piece of greaseproof paper and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then cover with cling film and leave to infuse in the fridge overnight.

the next day
Strain the nage through a fine sieve, discarding the vegetables and flavourings. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

blanching the vegetables
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the vegetables separately until al dente. Drain and immediately refresh each vegetable in iced water.

to serve
When ready to serve, pour 500ml nage into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk in the butter, a piece at at time until emulsified. Season with salt and add lemon juice to taste. Add the blanched vegetables and warm through for 3-4 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped herbs or celery leaves.

Food - Savoury        24 comments    Permalink

  • Keiko-san

    Oh! gorgeous!! I want to try this! I’ve never make herb nage before but it looks beautiful and I think Hannah might like it, because she loves veg-soup!

    Posted by Sagami | 20 July 2005 #
  • Yum This looks so yummy Keiko! It will be perfect with fresh veggies from my mum’s garden in Sping.

    Posted by clare eats | 20 July 2005 #
  • Looks nice! But I prefer my stock vegetables cut, can’t stand eating soup with knife and fork and spoon...

    Posted by susan | 20 July 2005 #
  • A neighbor who gives gifts of fresh vegetables and small trees sounds like a lovely neighbor indeed. It looks superb as always Keiko.

    Posted by gemma | 20 July 2005 #
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen vegetable soup look quite so beautiful. Those colors are just popping out of my screen!

    Posted by melissa | 20 July 2005 #
  • Wow, that photograph is just so stunningly beautiful! The recipe sounds very good, and the veggies from Peter, even better!! Unfortunately, I know I don’t have a chance at creating that myself...I don’t have the fresh vegetables. :(

    I’ll have to live vicariously through your photo. :)

    Posted by Alice | 20 July 2005 #
  • Hi Sagami-san







    Hi Clare - oh, you’re so lucky to have such a lovely mum ;)

    Hi Susan - I thought it’d look nicer with larger pieces, but I agree with you and had trouble eating it!

    Hi Gemma - thank you for your kind note as always. Yes, he is such a kind person - I think we are very lucky to have him around.

    Hi Melissa - thank you, I enjoyed all of the vegetables, but I especially liked the beans, peas and asparagus.

    Hi Alice - thank you for your kind words, you can make it with any vegetables even if you don’t have your own Peter around :)

    Posted by keiko | 21 July 2005 #
  • ポッシュなギャルソンファーム(爆)

    I’d rather leave out fennel and taragon as well for myself, but otherwise this sounds (and obviously, looks) just gorgeous. How I wish I could get THAT fresh vegetables.

    I want to come along with the リッチモンド詣で too!

    Posted by chika | 21 July 2005 #
  • What a stunning way to serve soup. It looks fabulous.

    Posted by Barbara | 21 July 2005 #
  • Hi,
    I have never had such a craving for a bowl of vegetables as I do now. It looks absolutely delicious, like spring in a bowl. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll have to give it a try!

    Posted by Michele | 21 July 2005 #
  • Hi Chika - I’m glad you’re back, looking forward to reading all the posts again ;)
    I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of aniseed flavour either, but I quite like the subtleness of tarragon.

    Hi Barbara - thank you, but as I said I had a bit of trouble eating it...

    Hi Michele - thanks for your kind words, hope you’ll enjoy it too!

    Posted by keiko | 22 July 2005 #
  • I receive 2 heads of the nicest broccoli from her last night. Just picked, tender and sweet! Not like the broccoli from anywhere else! Thanks mum!

    Posted by clare eats | 22 July 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    The vegetables look absolutely delicious. I think I’m going to have to try this. I don’t it’ll look like yours though. =(

    Posted by Reid | 22 July 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko, i wondered if you could tell me what camera you used to take such beautiful pictures.
    By the way it looks mouthwatering

    Posted by fanny | 23 July 2005 #
  • hi keiko, that looks exquisite - and your garden, i can only imagine, must be too...cheers,j

    Posted by Joycelyn | 23 July 2005 #
  • No need to answer my question, i’ve just read that you used a minolta A2.
    Thanx anyway

    Posted by fanny | 24 July 2005 #
  • Hello Keiko, you’re so lucky to have those freshly picked veggies. They all look so gorgeous.
    But what about that 7-feet maple tree, how did you uproot and replanted it? The trunk must be quite thick already. Did you need a crane to do it? ;)

    Posted by celiaK | 25 July 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko

    That looks jyst gorgeous! Can we trade neighbours??! I have some broad beans in the fridge at home, waiting to be transformed into somethign yummy - a variation on this theme coudl be just the thing! Lovely photos, as always...

    Posted by Jeanne | 25 July 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Clare - you’re indeed lucky to have such a lovely mum!

    Reid - thank you, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

    Joycelyn - I started to have greenfingers (just joking).

    Celia - thanks, the maple tree was in a pot, so Peter and Matthew could carry it (just about). He said that we should wait until winter to repot it, so we bought a bigger pot for that and at the moment it’s a ’pot in pot’ situation!

    Posted by keiko | 25 July 2005 #
  • Hi Jeanne - thank you for your kind note, I LOVE broad beans - I like to have them just boiled with a sprinkle of salt, it reminds me of a Japanese dish called Edamame, have you heard of that?

    Posted by keiko | 25 July 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko san ! I adore your site ! Whenever I want to feel happy, I drop in for a visit and it perks me up!

    I love your photos especially. Do you mind sharing with me your camera type ?

    Posted by Ms Pomme | 26 August 2007 #
  • Hi Ms Pomme – thank you for your note and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. I started with a Minolta A2 (this post was shot with it), then Canon 350D and I recently got a 5D.

    Posted by keiko | 21 January 2008 #
  • veg rules

    Posted by stef the chef | 24 October 2010 #
  • This soup sounds very flavourful and healthy. Bookmarking. I will make this when I find tender baby carrots next month!

    Posted by Harini | 27 November 2010 #

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