Thursday, March 5, 2009

Creamy Asparagus Soup


Oh internet, it is SO not fair. Here it is, March already, and I thought I had escaped cold and flu season. I thought I was golden! I haven't been sick once this entire winter, which if you take into consideration the fact that I work with children, is a minor miracle. UNTIL. TUESDAY. Because one brilliant student thought it would be a good idea to come to class sick and cough all over me. Boo.

And here it is, March, the birds are singing, the daisies are popping up, the sun is shining, and I am hacking and heming and feeling like a couch-bound lump of miserable. I can feel the sick sitting in my bronchials just waiting to lay me to waste. All I want to do is curl with a blanket and a cup of lemon tea and watch the Colbert Report all day long.

Oh, and eat this soup.

Can't forget about this soup.

I'm not quite that dead yet.


I think a good recipe shows off the flavors of the ingredients. When I was a kid my mom had this old battered red Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1960's full of truly horrible recipes. Everything, animal or vegetable, was rendered totally flavorless in the face of all the sugar, salt, vegetable oil, and shortening used in those recipes. I remember making sugar cookies out of one of the recipes and wondering how such good ingredients, tasty things like butter, flour, and sugar, could be made to taste so bland, so flavorless, so bad.

A lot of times, soup is like that. Until a few years ago, soup for me was the nasty salty stuff that came in a can, all salt and MSG and chunks of mushy bland stuff suspended in a viscous red sauce. Yuck. It makes you wonder how they manage to take live ingredients like vegetables and noodles and make them so dead and tasteless.

This soup is the complete opposite of that. This soup is bursting with fresh, lively flavor. This soup is alive. This soup makes me feel alive, even when I'm sick as a dog and languishing on the couch in a flu-induced stupor. After all those long months of winter, it's good to eat something fresh and alive.


Creamy Asparagus Soup
Serves 4 for lunch, or 6-8 as an appetizer
Tastes great with a grilled cheese sandwich

Part of why this soup is so good is because the asparagus really is the star of the show. This soup is simple, the recipe is straight-forward, and all the other ingredients work together to compliment and enhance the asparagus flavor. I adapted this recipe years ago from a recipe in Everyday Food. However, that recipe made a TON of soup (just, too much soup) and is crazy lemony. I like this version better.

So, lets get started! You are going to need all this stuff:
That is 1 lb Asparagus, 3 tbs butter, 1/2 and 1/2, 1 onion, and thyme. Oh, and also a lemon. Those pesky lemons are always sneaking out of the pictures. Otherwise, that's it! Isn't this simple? No-one would ever guess.

First, peel and chop up your onion.

Then melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Mmmmm, butter. Use real butter, I beg you. It tastes so good.

Once that butter is melted, add those onions. Wow, this is so easy, it's embarrasing. Stir those babies up, and let them saute on med-high heat for a bit.

MEANWHILE, there is TROUBLE IN PARADISE. Ok, maybe we don't need to be so dramatic. But see this? This is the ugly side of Asapragus. Specifically, the tough bottoms. We have to get rid of these. And it's so easy. just grab each spear and snap the end right off. Genius.

Now chop that asparagus into 1" pieces. But don't get too precise. No need to pull out a ruler. This is supposed to be EASY, remember?

Remember those onions? They should be starting to smell really amazing right about now. Once they start looking golden, you know they're done.

Add the asparagus, and mix it up. Saute for 5-6 minutes, until asparagus is bright green. There is something REALLY important happening here. It's called FLAVOR. Don't mess.

Add 2 cups of water. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Asparagus should still be bright green. Bright green means "still alive." When it starts to look dull green, it's been overcooked. Yuck. Asparagus is done when it's tender if pierced by a fork. Or just eat a piece. That's what I did.

Now take all that green goodness, and put it in a blender. Most people would say, do this in two batches so your blender doesn't explode and the hot contents burn you. But I like to live dangerously. Don't say I didn't warn you though.

Puree on high until smooth and creamy. Mmm.

Return the soup to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1/3 cup 1/2 and 1/2. Stir it all up.

And whatever you do, DON'T forget the lemon. The lemon is the magical ingredient that brings it all together. Forgetting the lemon would be tragic. So squeeze 1/2 a lemon into the soup.

Now stir it all up and taste. If if needs a little more salt, pepper, lemon, or 1/2 and 1/2, now's the time.

I think this soup goes perfectly with grilled cheese.

Or just eat it plain. And try not to lick the bowl. No, I change my mind, lick the bowl. Don't ever feel bad about licking the bowl. Life's just too short.


1 comment:

  1. I came across ur blog when I was looking for a roast chicken recipe! Your blog is absolutely beautiful and recipes nicely illustrated with lovely pictures!!! Absolutely love your shots, luv the angles u've taken! Was wondering which camera ur using for ur photos? Keep up the fab work!!