Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon

Puree of  Asparagus Soup with Tarragon

This sublime, pale green soup may be served warm or cold.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
2 pounds Asparagus, cleaned, tough ends removed, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Leak, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, mashed
Pinch of Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Vegetable Broth (see recipe) or Chicken Broth
2 Medium Potatoes, diced
1 Bay Leaf
A few sprigs of Fresh Thyme and Parsley
1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Garnish: 1 Small Bunch Fresh Tarragon, chopped

Vegetable Broth:
Use the cleaned tough ends and scraps of the asparagus and leek. Add 1 onion, 1 garlic clove (or more), and 2 quarts of water. Other vegetables you happen to have could also be thrown in, such as a carrot and/or a celery stalk. Let simmer about 30 minutes and strain.

Soup Preparation:
Clean the asparagus, break off tough ends. If you wish, peel the stalks for a more tender vegetable. Slice the asparagus stalks into approximately 1.5 inch pieces.

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leak, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, the potatoes, and herbs and simmer about 30 minutes. Add half of the asparagus and simmer another ten minutes. Remove the herbs.

Using an immersible hand blender (ie, Cuisinart’s Smart Stick), puree the soup, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, steam or broil the remaining asparagus for 5 minutes, until barely tender.  Strain and cover in ice water to stop the cooking process and prevent limp, over-done asparagus.

Serve the soup, garnishing each bowl with the sliced asparagus and a pinch of chopped fresh tarragon.

Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon is adapted from “The Vegetarian Feast” by Martha Rose Shulman, a cookbook I highly recommend.

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