Asparagus Soup 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 26, 2017

Silky smooth and a lovely pale shade of green, this is the soup to serve in starter-size portions at an elegant dinner party.

Here, chef Cindy Wolf of Charleston in Baltimore recommends soaking asparagus in water to ensure it's grit-free before cooking it in the broth, because the vegetable grows in sandy soil.

Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; it does not freeze well. Reheat over low heat.


Servings:
6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes 8 to 9 cups

Ingredients
  • 4 bunches pencil-thin asparagus, preferably local (about 3 1/2 pounds total; see headnote)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into small dice (1 cup)
  • 2 large shallots, cut into small dice (1/2 cup)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche, for garnish
  • Leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped, for garnish

Directions

Cut off/discard the woody ends of the asparagus. Cut the asparagus stalks in half. Lay or stand the pieces in a pan full of cool water; let sit for 20 minutes (to let any grit fall out), then drain.

Melt the butter in a large, stainless-steel soup pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and shallots until evenly coated; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until translucent; do not allow them to pick up any color.

Pour in the broth, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the asparagus; increase the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture returns to a boil, cook for about 5 minutes, or until the asparagus is al dente (firm to the bite.) Remove from the heat.

Working in batches, transfer the soup mixture to a blender with the center knob of its lid removed. Place a paper towel over the opening to prevent splashups. Puree until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Discard the solids.

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil, then stir in the strained asparagus puree. Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed.

Whisk together the creme fraiche and chopped tarragon in a bowl; garnish each portion of soup with a dollop. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Cindy Wolf, chef-owner of Charleston in Baltimore.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.