Paul is in the homestretch of his masters program, and is once again home in the evenings. He has been cooking, smoking and grilling up mountains of food in celebration. I sometimes have trouble focusing on the meal he’s made, because it’s such a novelty to have our evenings together again. To warm us up on this cold spring week, Paul made a extraordinary Cream of Asparagus Soup and fresh sourdough bread. The secret, I discovered, was in the short cook time on the asparagus, and the addition of peas for color and sweetness at the end of cooking. Paul finished the soup with savory flavor boosts of parmesan and vinegar to add depth to this quick spring soup. This recipe is adapted from Cook’s Country.
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 2 1/2 pounds asparagus, washed and woody ends removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups chicken broth (unsalted preferred, reduce added salt if using salted broth)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen sweet peas
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- To prepare the asparagus, remove the tips and set aside. Chop the remaining asparagus into rough 1 inch pieces and set aside.
- Add the oil to a large soup pot, over medium heat. When hot, add the asparagus tips and cook briefly, about 1 minute, until the tips are a vivid green. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper and remove the asparagus tips (leaving as much oil behind as possible) from the pan and set aside.
- Return the pot to medium heat and add the uncooked asparagus, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, uncovered for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add the broth, turn heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 7 minutes to cook the asparagus through. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the peas, cream, parmesan, vinegar, and pepper. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and vinegar to your preference.
- Serve the soup warm or chilled, garnished with the sautéed asparagus tips, homemade bread crumbs or fresh yogurt dill sauce. Store this soup covered and refrigerated, it will keep for 2 days.