Spring is a time of renewal, when we find ourselves longing to shed all the layers of a dreary winter. I long to curl my toes in the sand on my favourite local beach or sit on the patio with a cooling drink. The days are longer and the markets begin to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. Spring is when everything seems to come alive in and out of the kitchen. It is late coming to the Okanagan but our local farmers market opens today!!
This is the time to enjoy fresh rhubarb, sweet garden peas and furled fiddleheads foraged from the forest floor. It is the season for asparagus and escarole and a wide variety of lettuce handplucked from the garden for crispy salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season our dishes. All of these tastes of Spring are bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes...soon....sigh.....
The first rite of passage of Spring for me is always a nice warm bowl of asparagus soup long before rhubarb crisp and strawberry shortcake grace my table. I found myself with a glut of crispy Spring asparagus so rushed to the kitchen to my cauldron (aka soup pot) to cast a spell by recreating this soul-satisfying soup in the hope of speeding the season along. I found this recipe on my friend Debbie's blog A Feast for The Eyes where it's lovely green colour and secret ingredient intrigued me. What's the secret ingredient you ask to keep its vibrant green colour? Peas. Debbie and I met a few years ago in San Francisco and I know that anything she endorses on her blog just has to be good! Let's just say I had two bowls!
**Green Asparagus Soup**
from Cooks Country
2 pounds asparagus (see note), stem ends trimmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
salt and pepper
3-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen peas (the secret ingredient)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
|COOK TIPS Cut tips off asparagus spears and chop stalks into ½-inch pieces. Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add asparagus tips and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.|
SOFTEN VEGETABLES Add remaining butter and asparagus, leeks, ½ tablespoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper to empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
SIMMER SOUP Add broth to pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in peas (the secret ingredient to create that vibrant green colour) and Parmesan. Puree soup in blender** in 2 batches and return to pot. **NOTE: I always use an immersion blender to puree my soups right in the pot— so much easier and less cleanup.
Stir in cream, lemon juice, and asparagus tips, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days.)
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7 April 2012
Labels: Soup the Ultimate Comfort Food