Cold Asparagus Soup with Local Chevre
Total Time: 30
Yield: 8 appetizer servingsLisa Ekus-Saffer calls this recipe from chef/restaurateur Sandy D'Amato "Hatfield in the Spring" because of the area's renown as the capital of asparagus growing. Sandy makes his own asparagus stock, which really brings home the point, but you may also use vegetable or chicken stock with very respectable results.
Ingredients:2 pounds asparagus, rinsed, bottom 2 inches trimmed (reserve for stock)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion (or 2-3 medium-size local scallions), peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, washed and diced
1 leek, trimmed, cut in half on the bias, washed and diced
2 quarts Asparagus Stock (or vegetable or chicken stock)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley sprigs (reserve stems for stock)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 4-ounce log Montrachet chevre, divided (or your favorite plain, soft goat cheese)
Instructions:Trim off top inch of asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water 1-1/2 minutes; then shock immediately in ice water, drain, and reserve for garnish.
In a large pot over medium-low heat, add oil. Cook onion, celery, and leek, covered, about 10 minutes, until vegetables are translucent but not browned.
Add Asparagus Stock (or use vegetable or chicken stock), cover, and cook about 15 minutes. Add asparagus spears and cook uncovered 4-5 minutes, or until stalks are tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Puree carefully--remember, the soup is very hot--in batches until soup is smooth. Don't fill your blender more than a third full as you do this.
Set an empty bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Now strain puréed soup into the smaller bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir vigorously to cool soup quickly; then cover and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, adjust seasoning and consistency to taste (add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup). Spoon a few teaspoons chèvre (scooped or crumbled) into the bottom of a demitasse cup; place blanched asparagus tips on top of chèvre, and carefully ladle soup around chevre. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Ingredients:2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, washed, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
Reserved parsley stems
2 thyme sprigs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
15 crushed black peppercorns
2 quarts water
Reserved asparagus trimmings