Asparagus soup with black truffle cream

Asparagus: good fare for us

Originally appeared in the May 12, 2011 edition of the Southside Times.

Slender, healthy, and easy on the eyes.  While it might be a description to which some aspire, I’m actually talking about asparagus.  Harvested between March and late June, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this venerable perennial.  Continue to read after the jump:Asparagus’s slim shoot is also called a spear, which rises from an underground stem called the crown.  A member of the lily family, out of the over 300 varieties of asparagus, only about 20 are edible.  Asparagus is broken into three categories—green, white, and purple.  When selecting asparagus, choose crisp spears which are about 6-8 inches long, with compact and firm tips.  Avoid limp shoots, and reject any yellow or rust colors in favor of vibrant greens.  Here’s another thing (particularly with this recipe): as with all delicate vegetables, keep the actual cooking to a minimum.  Asparagus is a rich source vitamins (A, C, B6) and minerals (copper, iron, zinc), so it’s important to nurture its verdant personality by not over-doing it when it comes to applying heat.

This recipe makes for a light lunch or elegant appetizer.  Plus, it’s essentially wholesome, promoting results that are often slender, healthy, and easy on the eyes.  Now I’m talking about you.

Asparagus soup with black truffle cream

Serves 4

  • 2 ¼ lb asparagus, plus trimmings
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 ½ – 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces baby spinach
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Garnish:  Black truffle cream and chives

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon black truffle oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced chives

1.  Chop asparagus in small pieces.  Heat butter large saucepan; add onion and garlic; sweat until soft.  Add asparagus and sauté until soft (about 5 – 10 minutes).  Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in another pan.  Pour hot stock over asparagus mixture, season to taste.  Simmer for about 3 minutes.  Stir in spinach and cook briefly (only until wilted).  Remove from heat and drain vegetables, reserving stock.

2.  Puree vegetables in a blender or food processor, gradually adding in stock until the liquid is creamy and smooth.  Strain soup into a clean pan, making sure to press pulp to extract flavor.

3.  In a mixer with whisk attachment, lightly whip cream with truffle oil to soft peaks.  Reheat soup only to a simmer (boiling will damage color and flavor).  Serve soup with cream and chopped chives.

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