Kickstart to Spring

This is not something that was on our blog schedule, but we made it last night and it was so good I couldn’t bear not to share it. Spring asparagus soup. I think the asparagus here in the U.S. is the best in the world, surpassing those (much touted) that arrive in June in England and the white ones that Germans go crazy about a little earlier in the year. The really beautiful, fat, mouthwatering ones arrive here in California in February to give a kickstart to spring!  Which is why we bought about 4 pounds a few days ago when they were on sale and ended up making soup. You can only eat so much asparagus, no matter how delicious. I used to save the inedible ends that you cut off when you prepare them for cooking. I’d boil them to make soup and always end up with a slimy-green, stringy mess that I would throw out and proclaim “You can’t make asparagus soup.” Then I discovered the error of my ways. Asparagus soup is so delicious that it’s worth splurging on the real thing to make it.

Asparagus Soup

Serves 2 -4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 leek, white and very light green parts only, cleaned and sliced (or double the amount of onion)

2 tablespoons sweet onion, finely chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 4 pieces

3 cups water (stock unnecessary)

1 lb. fat asparagus

1-2 tablespoons cream (crème frâiche or whipping)

Saute the leek and onion in the butter, until soft.  Add the water and the potato, bring to the boil and let simmer.  

Meantime, prepare the asparagus.  Cut off (and discard!) the bottoms of the asparagus that you wouldn’t want to eat.

Take a few minutes to peel them (with a vegetable peeler, you can slice away the outside layer easily if you start just below the tip.) Cut them in 1″ pieces, saving the tips.  After the potato-leek mixture has simmered about 10 minutes add the asparagus pieces and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Steam the tips separately (I put them in one of those simple rosette steamers and place it over the soup). Remove them when they are barely cooked. 

Puree the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender until very smooth. Reheat if necessary, add the saved tips, the cream, and for an extra treat, a grating of parmesan.

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