April 25, 2011
This quick and easy asparagus soup uses a technique that makes soup silky without adding cream. I made it on the fly last week for my daughter’s school’s Garden Club, and it was a huge hit. Once a week, kids and parent volunteers get together to plant, weed, harvest, and tend the school’s vegetable garden, and I have to say, we all seem to have a lot of fun doing it. We have a super knowledgeable teacher in residence, and everyone seems to learn something new each week.
Another mom and I rotate bringing the snack (a major selling point for the kids), but we have a few parameters. It should be brought from a local farm, our home garden, or the school’s garden, and must be seasonal (or at least, inspired by the seasons). You would be really surprised with what the kids eat in garden club (I know I was at first). They devour radishes, asparagus and greens of all sorts. After last week’s meeting, this asparagus soup became a hall-of-fame Garden Club snack. I figure if picky 1st graders love it, you can probably serve it to just about anyone.
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for garnish
1 onion, chopped
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 cups chopped asparagus
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups vegetable stock (recipe)
Salt and pepper
Using a large, high-sided pan or pot on medium-high heat, add the onion and celery to the olive oil and sauté for approximately 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add chopped leek, garlic, and asparagus. Sauté for about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the veggies. Add the vegetable stock and bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the stock is boiling, take the soup off the heat and puree it in a blender in batches (you can also keep it in the pot and use an immersion blender). Reserve some of the stock to add at the end if the soup seems too thick. If the consistency feels too thick, slowly add the stock, checking the texture as you go.
Once the soup is blended, use a mesh strainer to strain it back into the pot (this is what makes the soup really smooth and silky), and bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve. Garnish with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.