Spring Asparagus Soup

Spring is upon us in Baltimore!  I know that this is the season when I should be roasting asparagus for every meal, but, my confession is that I don’t love asparagus.  I decided to try this asparagus soup to see if I would like it in a new way.  Even though it looks like pea soup, I enjoyed it!  Very light and tasty.  It was one of the first times I’ve made soup, and this recipe was a manageable one.  If you are looking for a way to embrace spring, here’s one idea.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb. asparagus
salt and pepper
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. butter
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced into 1 inch chunks
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, sliced (I omitted, couldn’t find one at the farmer’s market)
1 garlic clove, sliced

Directions:
1. With a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layer of the asparagus, starting about an inch from the top.  Keep all of the peelings.

2. When all the asparagus are peeled, cut off the ends of each stalk.  Add those ends to your collection of peelings.  Wrap the peelings and the ends in a piece of cheesecloth.  Tie it up into a little bundle with some string or ribbon.

(note: cheesecloth is pretty cheap from the supermarket)

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.   When it’s boiling, put in the asparagus and your cheesecloth bundle.  Let cook for 4 minutes before removing the asparagus to a colander.  Rise with cold water and add several ice cubes to it.  Toss the cheesecloth bundle, but reserve 3-4 cups of the cooking liquid.

4. Dry the pot and add the olive oil and butter.  Under low heat, add the leeks, onion, shallot and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and toss around until everything is covered with the butter and oil.

5. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, until everything is softened.

6. Add the 3-4 cups of reserved cooking liquid.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Add the asparagus and simmer for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

8. In batches, puree with soup in a blender or food processor.  (Or use an immersion blender, if you have one).  Season for taste with salt and pepper.

Even the cat was curious.  Also, I discovered that picassa can add fun features to pictures, I’ll try not to get too crazy with it……….

Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  (a beautiful cookbook, fyi).

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