My new favorite soup was inspired by a chef from whom I gathered the idea of bulking up hearty, traditionally creamed soups with compatible vegetables that will not overpower the flavor focus, thus eliminating the need for butter and heavy cream (delicious though they are!).
When I got a coupon for asparagus at $2.49, while the produce department price was $6.59, I bought two large bunches—enough to experiment with and still have some steamed as a side dish.
The experiment was a success, so here’s how to make the creamiest, heartiest “cream of asparagus” soup with no cream at all.
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1 pound of Lima beans, cooked (I used frozen baby limas, pressure cooked for 8 minutes)
1 pound of asparagus trimmed and steamed
Saute together in water or olive oil:*
- 1/2 large onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 celery rib, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1/2 cup or so frozen peas (to deepen the green color)
salt—about 2 teaspoons (add some to the beans, some to the onions, some to the asparagus)
cracked black pepper to taste
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In batches, filling the blender no more than half full, and holding a kitchen towel over the lid for safety, puree all ingredients together, reserving a few asparagus spears to be cut into 1/2 inch lengths and stirred into the finished puree.
* TIPS: Because of olive oil’s sensitivity to heat, I prefer to saute in water, then add oil after cooking is complete.
You can add the saute veggies in descending order of the list, because onions and celery need longer to cook, garlic less, and the peas really just enough to thaw.
Gremolata: I am in love with Gremolata, an extra virgin olive oil subtly flavored with garlic, Italian parsley, lemon zest and a hint of mint. For this dish, instead of putting oil in the soup, I drizzled a heart shape of gremolata onto the ladled serving. Delicious!
photo credit stu_spivack, Asparagus soup with crème fraîche and pink peppercorn, chosen for this post because the green color is similar to my recipe.