Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creamy Asparagus Soup


You've wondered what to do when finding yourself knee-deep in asparagus.  Well, here's the answer.

I found myself right in that depth of asparagus last night.  Not quite sure how it came to be, but three bunches accumulated on the produce shelf.  Strange, since I would never buy more than one bunch at a time.  How did that slip through the cracks two weeks in a row?  How is it that all the asparagus is still crisp?  Its a mysterious vegetable.  

Its one of my favorite vegetables, which might be genetic.  As are other effects of consuming asparagus, I hear.  Case in point: I told my mom about a year ago that Garrett and I had purchased a flight to Paris in late March.  Her response:

"It'll be asparagus season!"  I get many of my food tendencies from my mother.

To really enjoy this soup, asparagus has to be one of your favorite vegetables, as well.  It's a very clean flavor, and you can taste every ingredient (including cauliflower and fennel) in addition to the overall essence of asparagus.  If you want something a little less vegetable-y and more robust/full-bodied, start with butter and replace the onions with leeks or shallots.  Of course, you could add more cream.

Ingredients (makes 5-6 servings):
  • 3 bunches of asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into thirds
  • 1 head of cauliflower florets
  • 1 onion (or leeks)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeks
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. of either rosemary or thyme
  • 6 cups stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. cream/half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prep your vegetables and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot.  Add the fennel seeds for about three minutes, until browned.  Add the onion and to sweat for 4 minutes, or so.  Season with salt and pepper.

Put all the asparagus, with the parsley and herbs, in the pot at once.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add all of the cauliflower, stock, and water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes.  The cauliflower should be very soft.
With an immersion blender, cream the soup until very smooth.  Add the lemon, cream, and salt and pepper to taste.

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