Saturday, April 9, 2011

Asparagus Soup

I'm pretty confident that we really have left winter behind in southern Wisconsin, but there's still a place for warm, hearty fare like soup, although of a lighter spring variety. Asparagus and peas are some of the ingredients that most embody spring to me, and this soup is a wonderful sweet, silky marriage of these two ingredients. Teetering on the edge of winter and spring, this soup strikes a wonderful balance between the comforting and warming qualities and the fresh and bright flavors of spring. As with any good soup, it clings happily to a piece of crusty bread and rewarms beautifully for lunch the following day. In fact, the aroma proved so enticing that every single coworker who walked past my desk while I was eating lunch commented on the tantalizing smell. Keep this recipe in mind as your local outdoor farmer's market opens for the season and you want to unite the brilliant flavors of spring in a simple, satisfying meal.

Asparagus Soup
from Carla Hall via Food and Wine
serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the 1/4 cup of tarragon and the parsley. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, add the cream and peas; rewarm. Season with salt and white pepper and garnish with tarragon and zest.

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