The quintessential cream of asparagus soup, fineartdaily's well-edited version uses only the essential ingredients to great effect: namely asparagus, onion, cream, and stock. But the real treat hides below the surface of her delicate soup in the form of crisp-tender asparagus tips waiting to be found, like little sunken treasures. To maximize this effect, we recommend buying the thinnest asparagus spears you can find so there are plenty of little tips to go around. Note: the recipe does not call for salt, so feel free to add it to taste.
Since we live in the country, we get to live off the land and sometimes off the
kindness of neighbors. It’s like that with the asparagus. Farming friends have a two-
acre field that was planted in asparagus 30 years ago. At the time, it was part of their
vegetable operation, but as that morphed over the years, the field, tucked down in a
grove of trees not far from the creek, was more or less abandoned. The family and
various friends may come and pick asparagus in season, and the unspoken rule is:
tithe part of your gleanings to the family, a pleasurable tax that usually nets a glass
of wine or a beer and some conversation in the course of the exchange.
For the first couple of pickings, I usually steam the spears until barely tender. Then
we sit outside and eat them dipped in a little mayo-curry mustard as hors d’oeuvre
with cocktails. Or we grill them and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette -and till we
eat them with our fingers if they are cocktail fare. At least once in the course of the
asparagus season, we have a dinner party, and serve asparagus soup. So easy!
Makes 4 servings
Heat the chicken stock until boiling while you’re prepping the asparagus. Snap the asparagus off at the snapping point (it’s the spot where, when the stalk is held between two wide-spaced hands and easily breaks – which tells you where the tender stem stops and the woody stalk begins). Chop off the tops and set aside. Chop the tender stems, the onion and the shallot into the boiling stock and cook until barely tender. Add the tarragon and pepper and cook for another minute only. Puree the soup with a hand blender. Create a slurry with a the cornstarch and a little water of the reserved stock. Bring back the soup back to the boil and whisk in the cornstarch slurry to thicken it slightly. Add asparagus tops and cook until just tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Serve with garlic croutons.