Friday, May 11, 2012

Cold Asparagus Soup--For the Hot Days of May

It is asparagus season and they are in all stores on display more fresh and appetizing than ever. And I have just realized that I have never posted any recipe with asparagus as the main ingredient, although they are one of my favorite vegetables, especially in the late spring. I used to make many dishes with asparagus but these days I serve them most often in salads or pastas. I do not cook asparagus in water but sauté them on a pan drizzled with oil and a splash of water. This way I can have them perfectly green and still al dente, tender but not too soft or too hard. I usually serve asparagus as meat accompaniment, or make a salad plate with green salads and asparagus drizzled with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese.

Today, because the weather is getting hot again for this weekend I decided to make cold asparagus soup. I used to make it very often in Switzerland where on Friday farmers market I could get all kinds of very fresh asparagus. For this recipe, I use green asparagus the most thin kind as it is more tender and the soup does not need to be strained. This soup is a perfect dish to be served at lunch or dinner on a sunny and warm days as today.

Cold Asparagus Soup
(Serves six)

2 lb green asparagus, the thin type,
1 large onion,
2 tbsp olive oil,
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth,
1 cup table cream,
salt and peeper to taste.

1. Cut off the ends of asparagus--I usually cut off one third of their length to make sure that all the wooden parts ale left out. Then from about 12 asparaguses cut off just the tips and blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. They have to be still tender and green as they are needed for decoration.

Cut the rest of the asparaguses into inch-long sticks.

2. Heat oil in a medium, high wall pot. Add chopped onion and fry until transparent. Add asparagus and fry together on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Let it boil for about 20 minutes until asparaguses are soft.
4. Using food blender purée the soup until very smooth. You need to try the soup and if you can feel the hard parts the soup needs to be strained on a colander.
5. Pour cream to the soup, season with salt and pepper, and cool down to room temperature. Then transfer the soup to the refrigerator.

On very hot days, I like to serve it chilled, on warm days, just room temperature.

Before serving decorate each plate with blanch asparagus tips.