May 2, 2012
Page 184, Ottolenghi
Today! Today was a fabulous day. The first poppy bloomed in our front yard. That alone is practically a holiday for our household. Add the first farmers market to the day and it rockets the day into stellar. And the first asparagus from Jaime’s garden? Oh, friends. It was spectacular in Ottolenghi’s version of asparagus vichyssoise. Each time there is a recipe that stuns us with it’s flavors, I marvel again at the magic of Ottolenghi’s combinations. This came together so easily and seriously wowed us. We ate it with salad, fresh baguettes and tomatoes from the farmers market and called it a celebratory dinner. Beltane and it’s glorious celebration of abundance is afoot! The height of spring is an amazing thing to honor, and this asparagus soup was the perfect dish.
MAKE THIS SOUP, friends. You will not be sorry.
1 lb asparagus
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 ½ T butter
2 ½ cups good vegetable stock
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
3 T cream
6 T Greek yogurt
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Peel and dice the potato. Chop off and discard the green of the leeks, cut them in half lengthways, wash and slice roughly.
Reserve three whole pieces of asparagus and for the rest – cut off and discard the woody base of the asparagus, then cut into pieces; keeping the tips separate. In a big pan, sauté all the vegetables, other than the asparagus tips (and reserved whole pieces) in butter for four minutes. Add stock, sugar and salt/pepper to taste- bring to a boil and simmer, lid on, for 40 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 10 minutes. Blend until smooth, fold in the cream and half the yogurt, leave to cool to room temperature, then chill. While it’s cooling, bring a pot of water to the boil, blanch the reserved asparagus for 2 minutes, drain and refresh under cold water. Shred.
To serve, pour the soup into bowls, add a dollop of yogurt and swirl. Place the shredded asparagus in the center of the soup and garnish with lemon zest.