Cream of Asparagus Soup

20 03 2010
I had two pounds of asparagus sitting in my refrigerator and some homemade vegetable stock, so Voila, Cream of Asparagus soup. Also, I wanted to play with some flavored olive oils I have from EVOO marketplace in Denver to see what kind of hit flavor combinations I could create. Last night we splashed in oils like Persian Lime and Meyers Lemon as finishing touches. We stirred them in and ate right away. The flavors were subtle but distinguishable. We tried a stronger flavor like White Truffle, and found that it made a nice contrasting accent to the asparagus, especially if you like truffles. I was going for a more complimentary and blended flavor with the Persian Lime. So this morning, I whisked in a tablespoon of the Persian Lime oil into about 3 cups of leftover soup. I reheated it and then let it sit for a few hours. I have to say, the Lime flavor was more prevalent and was a wonderful accent to the asparagus. Just letting the soup absorb the flavor of the oil over time made a huge difference. Of course, this soup is fantastic even if you don’t have fancy specialty olive oils. This would make a wonderful starter to an Easter dinner.
 

2 pounds asparagus

3 large shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee

1/4 cup flour

5 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyers Lemon, or more to taste

EVOO Persian Lime or Meyers Lemon oil (optional)

Rinse the asparagus and break off the woody ends. You can either add these into a vegetable stock you are making from scratch, or an already prepared vegetable stock. Allow the asparagus ends to simmer in the stock for about 20 minutes to impart an asparagus flavor to the stock.

Cut off the decorative tips of the asparagus and blanch them in boiling salted water. Drain and plunge into cold water to retain their green color. These will be added to the soup at the end.

Cut the remaining asparagus into 1/2 inch sized pieces. Melt the butter or ghee in a soup pot. Add in the shallots and garlic and saute until softened. Add in the flour and cook the roux (mixture of fat and flour) until golden.  Then add in the vegetable stock a little at a time whisking into the roux. Add in the asparagus pieces and a little sea salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the asparagus is tender.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches and return to the pot. Whisk in the heavy cream and lemon juice and flavored olive oil, if using, and bring to a simmer. Add in the asparagus tips. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. ( You can leave the soup to rest for a while at this point to allow the flavors to blend or serve it right away. You can also season with other interesting spices like flavored sea salts, red pepper flakes etc..)

Another option is to omit the Lime or Lemon oils and add a splash of White Truffle oil as a garnish before serving. It was also decorative to sprinkle a little hot paprika or Piment d’Esplette over the top for color as a garnish.


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