It’s always a welcome sight to see asparagus appearing in the grocery stores (or at least, the price coming down) and it quickly makes its way to my shopping cart. And I always mean to keep those tender shoots fresh by storing them, upright, in a glass in the fridge, much like cut flowers. And sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, I make the asparagus into a soup.
I of course wouldn’t want to make a soup out of one of spring’s signature vegetables that didn’t preserve its fresh, light character. And this does the trick. After lightly pan-searing the stalks with aromatics, they are cooked in good chicken broth until soft. Pureed in a stand mixer or in a blender, you get an elegant first course, or a simple dinner when you aren’t too hungry, or don’t have time for more. (Such as has been the case for me recently–as the briefness of this post can attest to).
I’ve used a few unusual ingredients here–chervil and roasted hazelnut oil that I’ve bought for other recipes, but which boost the herby spring flavors of the soup and round out the body of the liquid. You can use other herbs such as tarragon (as I have in the past) or thyme, and which you might be more likely to have on hand) and simply drizzle with olive oil to finish.
And while we’re on the subject: for last year’s asparagus idea, check here.
Seared Asparagus Soup with Chervil
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2T butter
- 1t dried chervil (substitute tarragon or thyme)
- 4c chicken stock
- salt to taste
- hazelnut (or olive or other oil) for serving
Melt the butter over medium heat and add the asparagus and chervil, tossing and sauteeing the asparagus until lightly pan-seared and bright green (about 5 minutes). Roughly chop the asparagus, leaving a few tips to garnish your soup. (You can chop before sauteeing as well, and don’t chop too fine, remember you’ll be pureeing in the end).
Meanwhile, bring stock to a simmer. Add the asparagus, bring to a boil and then lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the asparagus is soft. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in the blender. Adjust for salt.
Serve, adding a few asparagus tips and drizzling with oil.