I hosted a Beginner’s Herb Gardener class in my studio on Saturday and among the numerous dishes we prepared was a delectable, Creamy Asparagus Soup.
The class began with a group of 6 terrific women gathered for the purpose of planting and growing herbs. After 90 minutes of discussion around annual and perinneal herbs, cultivating, propagating, snipping and tending herbs, we moved to the kitchen and began preparing our lunch. Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Peppers and Fresh Herbs, Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with garlic and my ‘Tomato Trilogy’ (basil, flat-leaf parsley and tarragon); Creamy Asparagus Soup and to finish, Fresh Strawberries with Lemon Balm and Honey.
The Asparagus Soup is my focus today. Perhaps it should be called Green Vegetable Soup, because it isn’t a traditional pureed soup of a particular type (asparagus), but instead employs the use of aromatics for flavor layering and potato for thickening. What it is however, is rich, thick and delicately smooth. Gently seasoned with tarragon, this is one of my favorite soups.
Creamy Asparagus Soup
2 Tbls olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends and tips removed (save the tips) and cut into 2″ pieces
1 large baking potato, peeled, diced
salt, pepper and pinch of cayenne to taste
1 large handful of flat- leaf parsley, leaves only
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
1/2-1 cup heavy cream or evaporated skim milk
In a 3 quart sauce pan, sweat the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until softened. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute to thoroughly heat the garlic. Add the stock, asparagus and potato. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until simmering. Cook until all the vegetables are soft enough to be crushed with a wooden spoon when pressed against the side of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the soup to the container of an upright blender. Add the parsley and tarragon. Puree the soup until perfectly smooth. Taste for seasonings, and return to the pot. Add the cream and heat gently until warmed through.
Blanch the tips of the asparagus until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls or cups and gently float 2 or more asparagus tips on top of the soup.