This Vegan Puree of Asparagus Soup dish involves a simple puree soup made of onions, potatoes and leeks, plus a very good olive oil. I would highly recommend this amazing extra-virgin olive oil from Crete (sorry, you will have to fly to Crete to get it). It’s made exclusively from Winery Stilianou, that makes dry wines from the traditional Crete grapes. There is a fruity and spicy combination in the olive oil which is delicious!
The puree of asparagus soup recipe is adapted from NY Time’s Recipes for Health, Martha Rose Shulman, using Yukon Gold potatoes rather than russet potatoes. The soup turned out fantastic as an addition to rice dishes and on its own with croutons.
Yields: Serves 6
FOR THE BROTH
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, halved
• Green of 1 large leek
• Salt to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• Trimmed stems from 1 pound asparagus, cut in 1-inch lengths
• 2 quarts water
FOR THE SOUP
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced and cleaned
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
• 3-4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
• Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
• 1 1/2 quarts asparagus broth (above)
• A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a few sprigs each parsley and thyme
• 1 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off, sliced about 1 inch thick, plus 12 whole stalks, woody ends snapped off, for the garnish
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• Freshly ground pepper
• Chopped fresh tarragon for garnish
1. Make the broth. Combine all of the ingredients for the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.
2. Make the soup. Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the leek, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook gently for five minutes, stirring often, until the onion and leek have softened. Add the garlic, stir together for a minute, then add the potatoes, broth, bouquet garni and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus (not the 12 spears), and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and remove the bouquet garni.
3. Puree the soup with a hand blender or, working in 1-1/2 cup batches, ladle the soup into a blender. Place a towel over the blender, and pull it down tightly to prevent splashing. Blend each batch, then (whether you pureed the soup in the pot or in a blender) put through a medium strainer, pushing it through with the bottom of your ladle or with a spatula. Return to the pot. Heat through, and add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Meanwhile, steam the 12 asparagus spears for four minutes, until just tender. Refresh with cold water, then slice about 3/4 inch thick.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish each serving with a handful of sliced asparagus, sprinkle with tarragon and serve.