Monday, July 5, 2010

Fresh Asparagus Soup

It might be summer in other parts of the country but luck is on my side this season, and it's still overcast and a bit chilly here. The perfect summer in my opinion. It also warrants my year round desire for soup, which is normally thwarted by my husband who thinks soup in the summer is absurd. So tonight I was able to sneak in a soup that is light and fresh and perfect for outside dinner eating (pending I had a backyard).
Fresh asparagus soup both pureed and lightly blanched for garnish, with lemon pepper cream and frizzled leeks

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup minced leeks, whites only, well rinsed
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Trim the attractive top tips from the asparagus, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Cut the woody stem ends from each spear and reserve. Cut the remaining tender stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a medium pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the tough woody stems, lower the heat and simmer to infuse with asparagus flavor, 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.

Add the decorative tips to the stock and blanch until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a strainer and refresh in an ice water bath. Drain on paper towels and reserve for the garnish. Reserve the stock.

In a medium stockpot, melt the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and leeks and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped asparagus stalks, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a hand-immersion blender or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Add blanched asparagus tips, lemon pepper cream and frizzled leeks.

Lemon Pepper Cream
2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
1/4 cup soy creamer
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients and drizzle on soup.

Frizzled Leeks
Canola oil for frying
1 cup AP flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 leek, white and light green part only, cut vertically into thin strips
1c non dairy milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar ( I use oat milk)

Heat oil to 360.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a paper bag.
Combine milk and vinegar and soak leeks until oil is at 350. Dredge leeks in the flour and shake in the bag until completely coated. Add leeks into oil when the temperature is 360 and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and lightly salt.

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