What does it say about us that one of every three posts on our new blog is about cocktails or food? Rhetorical.
This post is about food*. Specifically asparagus because it’s that time of year, people.
Several years ago, I started an immense asparagus bed in our garden and each year it pumps out what, at some point, seems to be an endless supply of sweet, crisp, fat spears of spring goodness. Of course it does come to an end, and it seems we are now at or near that time when we just let it go and it becomes a forest of ferny glory that feeds the bees and praying mantises for several months.
Over time, I’ve collected a big ole fat file of recipes using asparagus from the simple – spears braised in butter on the stove top – to the deliciously complex, bread pudding made with asparagus cut in pieces, a boule of rustic white bread, fontina cheese, chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, oregano, thyme, etc…), heavy cream, butter again…oh. my. god.
Last night though, it went something like this:
Me: THIS IS THE BEST SOUP I’VE EVER MADE!
The Master of All He Surveys: I’ll be the judge of that. And – you always say that.
Me: Yes I know, but this time it’s true.
MoAHS: This IS good. The tits … sorry, the TIPS … really make a statement.
Me: More wine dear? I know where your fixations lie, and yes the asparagus tips do add a nice kick.
So, if you would like to knock the socks off your dinner guests, your own MoAHS (term strictly gender neutral) and family, here’s the best Creamy Asparagus Soup recipe EVER!
2 pounds of fresh asparagus, stem ends trimmed or snapped off (peel bottom 2-3 inches with a vegetable peeler if the spears are thicker than ½ inch)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
3 ½ cups chicken broth (I use Pacific brand)
½ cup frozen green peas
2+ tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Cook Tips – Cut tips off asparagus spears and chop stalks into ½ inch pieces. Melt 1 ½ tablespoon butter in Dutch oven over medium-HIGH heat. Add asparagus tips and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside.
- Soften Vegetables – Add remaining butter and asparagus, leeks, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to your taste to the empty pot and cook over medium-LOW heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
- Simmer Soup – Add broth to pot and bring to a boil over medium-HIGH heat. Reduce heat to medium-LOW and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and Parmesan. Puree soup in blender in 2 batches and return to pot. Stir in cream, lemon juice and asparagus tips, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. (If there is any left, soup can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days.)
Source: Cook’s Country
If you’re in a hurry and that recipe sounds like too much effort (totally worth it, but I’m a realist), here’s a ridiculously fast and easy Fresh Asparagus Soup recipe that is ALMOST as good:
Serves 4 to 6
¾ pound of fresh asparagus
5 cups of water
1 ½ cups of chicken broth (again, I like Pacific brand)
2 tablespoons of plain, low-fat yoghurt (I like Greek style)
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Snap the hard ends off the asparagus spears, then cut the spears into 1 inch pieces.
- Using a saucepan, bring the five cups of water and teaspoon of salt to a boil over high heat.
- Add the fresh asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
- Drain into a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid, and save 2 cups of the liquid.
- Place the asparagus and 2 cups of liquid in a blender and mix until smooth.
- Pour the mix into the saucepan, stir in the chicken broth, black and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in yoghurt.
- Can be served warm or chilled.
- At this time of year, you could garnish with a fresh chive blossom or any other fresh herbs you like.
*If you’ve read this far, I’ll treat you with a recommendation for a wine pairing well suited to either of these soups – a crisp sauvignon blanc is a very nice choice. My personal favorite “house” sauv. blanc these days is Rodney Strong’s “Charlotte’s Home”. About $12-16 a bottle, depending.