I don’t usually make vegetarian soup, but this pistou I cooked for the Washington Post‘s feature on summer soups was delicious and savory, with deep almost meaty flavor. It’s basically just a bunch of vegetables–onions, carrots, leeks, fennel, garlic, tomatoes, celery–sauteed and cooked with sherry and vegetable stock, thyme and basil. A few choice summer beans finish this version off. I see the Post editors doubled the amount of thyme (to 12 sprigs) and added that pesto be stirred in at the end. It’s true that the front flavor of the pistou was heat from the red pepper flakes; no complaints from me on that. But what also happened, and I believe this was the point, was that the beans were the stars and this pistou let them shine. The baby lima beans and sugar snap peas stole the show. Small bursts of sweet against a spicy, earthy backdrop.
My tasters commented that they’d like to try a version with bacon. I’d say I’d gladly make this pistou again…if there was a vegetarian coming to dinner.