For a simple yet elegant soup, try this asparagus soup. Subtle and velvety, without any cream. By the way, you do not want this soup to boil- by not allowing it to boil it will retain a greener, more pleasant color. Boil this soup and it will turn khaki.
1 pound thick asparagus
1 medium brown onion
1 leek, white and palest green part only
1 stalk of celery
1 small carrot
1 large Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold potato
1 quart rich vegetable stock
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and white pepper to taste
Minced chives or chervil for garnish
Grape seed or other neutral flavored oil, as needed
Snap the spears, the peel the parts you snapped. Cut the rest of the spear into small pieces (1”), reserving the tips for garnish.
Heat the stock over medium heat, and when it is hot, add the peeled bases to the stock. Reduce the heat so the stock is at a chuckle and cook the bases for 20 minutes or so. This is to build the flavor of the asparagus into the stock.
Finely slice the leek and onion. Peel and finely slice the carrot, and finely slice the celery stalk. In a pot large enough to hold the finished soup, sauté them in the oil over medium heat until they are translucent.
Peel and medium dice the potato. Add it to the vegetables and sauté until all are quite soft.
Strain the hot stock into the pot. Add the chopped asparagus and simmer (remember — do not boil the soup!) for 5 minutes.
Carefully, puree the vegetables in the blender. Use just enough of the liquid to get it moving. (Remember- Hot liquids in the blender want to explode out when the machine turns on. Only fill the machine partway and cover the lid with a towel.)
Strain the puree into a fresh soup pot, and add enough stock to the puree to give it a nice smooth texture. Season with salt and pepper
Slice the tips lengthwise into 1/8 inch thick pieces and blanch just long enough that they are no longer raw (30 to 60 seconds) and garnish the soup with them.
Sprinkle the soup with either chives or chervil. The soup is also good served cold, although the seasonings might need to be turned up a bit.
- If you make lots of asparagus, try using the snapped ends to make a stock one week, and freeze the asparagus stock. Then thaw the stock and make the soup later on.
- Thick or medium asparagus is best for this soup as it is more succulent and sweeter than the thin stalks.
YIELD: Serves 4