Asparagus Soup

I had this delicious soup the other night when I was visiting my brother in Asheville, N.C.  The recipe is from the cookbook, Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.  I just loved it and wanted to share it with all of you.  It’s also a nice reminder that asparagus will soon be the first of the spring veggies to pop up in our gardens!

From Deborah Madison: I prefer to use fat stalks of asparagus and peel them. They puree much more easily, leaving you with a smooth and silky soup. If you want to make this earlier in the day but still have that bright green color, pour the finished soup immediately into a bowl set over ice, stir to cool it down as quickly as possible, then refrigerate.

(makes 4-1/2 cups)

asparagus-soup INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, preferably thick shoots, well-washed
  • 2 fat bunches scallions (about 2 c. chopped), or leeks, the greens set aside
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • 3/4 cup potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 T. butter
  • Several drops of fresh lemon juice from a Meyer lemon, if possible
  • Bouquet garni:
    • Several parsley sprigs
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Sprig of thyme

DIRECTIONS:

1. Snap off the butt ends of the asparagus and put them in a pot with 5 cups water, scallion greens and bouquet garni. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, then simmer while you prepare everything else. If you’re not ready to use it after 25 minutes, strain and set aside.

2. Cut off the tips, cover them with cold water and set aside to soak, agitating the water occasionally to get rid of any sand. Peel the remaining middles of the asparagus and chop into 1/2″ chunks.

3.  Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the scallions, asparagus middles, and potato. Give a stir, add a teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium-high heat, just until the butter begins to brown a bit, after several minutes. Pour the hot broth through a strainer right into the pot, if you haven’t strained it already, then simmer for 8 minutes. Puree, in small batches, until smooth. Set the strainer over a clean pot, pour the soup into it and agitate with a rubber scraper, finally pushing any debris against the strainer. Taste for salt and add a few drops of lemon juice to bring up the flavors. Season with a little white pepper.

4.  Simmer the asparagus tips in a little salted water until tender, then drain. Add them to the soup just before serving.

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