Fresh asparagus in the produce aisle is a sure sign that spring is coming. Fat, thin, white, or green…I love them all. I especially love this asparagus soup, beautifully photographed by Matthew Mead. It’s light, yet comforting, when there is still a hint of chill in the air.
One of the most valuable soup tips I’ve learned came from reading Food52. Add a splash of fortified wine — dry sherry, brandy, Cognac — to your vegetable soups. YUM…you are welcome!
The splash of Cognac in this spring asparagus soup gives it an extra layer of flavor. The hint of fresh tarragon plays up the grassy nature of the asparagus. This delicious combination of flavors gives an unexpected twist. I’m ready for spring.
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1 1/2 pounds asparagus (2 bunches)
1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 small Yukon Gold potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh tarragon, to taste
Rinse asparagus and cut off the bottom woody ends of the asparagus, and set aside. Cut off the tips of the asparagus and set them aside.
Chop the stems into 1-inch lengths. In a medium size saucepan bring the broth and water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips and simmer until tender crisp, about 1 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Set aside. Add the reserved woody ends to the liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a separate saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour the asparagus stock through a strainer into the saucepan with the onion. Press on the asparagus ends to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ends.
Add the potatoes and salt to the saucepan and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus stalks. Bring the stock to a boil and simmer until the stems are just blanched, 1 minute for thin stalks, 2 minutes for medium stalks and 3 minutes for thick stalks.
Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and carefully blend until smooth, transferring the soup as it is pureed to the empty saucepan. Stir in reserved asparagus tips, lemon juice and a splash of cognac. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking just until heated through.
Divide soup between serving bowls. Top each portion with tarragon and croutons. Serve immediately.
- Category: soup
- Cuisine: soup