And if these past few days are any sign of what we can expect from the rest of the summer, I just might have to pack up and move to Antarctica for a few months. (Though that might be a wee bit problematic from a blogging standpoint, considering there aren’t too many blog-worthy dishes that can be made from penguin, fish and snow)
Thankfully, here in Ontario there’s still plenty of locally-grown asparagus to be found. Considering how affordable and delicious it is, I’ve been taking advantage and cooking up all sorts of goodies using the beautiful bright green spears. Actually, at the rate I’m consuming these tender green spears, there’s a good chance I’ll have funky-smelling pee well into August.
Which brings us back to the weather. More importantly, back to this recipe for cream of asparagus soup, which is the perfect thing for days when I can’t bear the thought of heating up the house by turning on the stove.
Admittedly, you do need to turn on the stove for this one, but the whopping cook time of 15 minutes means the air conditioner won’t even miss a beat. Even better, the entire recipe takes just about 20 minutes from start to finish, which leaves plenty of time for other hot weather activities like sucking back many ice-cold drinks, sweating profusely, huddling in front of a vent when the A/C kicks in, or flopping bonelessly into the nearest comfy chair.
Since I get the sweats just thinking about a bowl of steaming hot soup at the moment, it’s also important to note that this soup is intended to be served chilled. It’s quite delicious warm, but like its kissing cousin, the Vichyssoise, this soup becomes a downright elegant starter when cold – especially since that means the soup can be prepared a day or two in advance, leaving both you and your soup as cool as a cucumber on the big day.
(Betcha never thought you’d see the words “pee” and “elegant” in the same blog post, huh? As they say, I never fail to put the “ass” in “class”.)
Cream of Asparagus Soup
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Snap off the woody stem on the end of each asparagus spear, and discard. Cut the asparagus into 1″ lengths, and set aside.
In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, saute the leek in butter until soft and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and chopped asparagus. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until asparagus are tender. Remove from heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in milk and cream. If serving warm, return to low heat for 5 minutes, just long enough to heat through. If serving chilled, pour into a large serving bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
For a pretty presentation, add a swirl of creme fraiche (or full-fat yogurt) just before serving.