Like tomatoes and apples, asparagus is one of those foods that is incomparably better from a farmstand in spring than from a supermarket in winter. The variety (thick, thin, green, purple, greenish purple), abundance, sweetness and tenderness are far better when you can get some grown locally in May or June. It’s one of the foods, along with cherries, that I look forward to every year, because it’s the official start of the farmers market and a summer of great produce.
Finding plenty of green shoots and not much else, I walked away from the farmers market last weekend with about 3 pounds of freshly picked purple and green stalks. While I love asparagus, three pounds of it is a bit more than I typically eat, so I sought out a reliable soup recipe that could put the bounty to good use.
Cream of asparagus is the easy answer; but summer’s here and a thick cream soup didn’t really feel like the right answer. Epicurious had a recipe for roasted asparagus soup with a spring herb gremolata that seemed to be perfect for warmer days.
The prep was about as easy as could be — just chop the ends off of the stalks (I’m not really a believer in the breaking method), roughly chop, coat with olive oil and generous pepper, and bake in the oven with some leeks for about 45 minutes. I ended up using a slightly cooler oven (350 vs 425), because I typically roast veggies around there and am generally happy with the results. Per a few suggestions on the Epi comments, I added in a chopped potato to add a bit of body to the eventual soup.
Veggies, aromatics and starches roasted, the next and final step was tossing them in the blender (or food processor, if you want to do a few batches) along with some chicken stock and pureeing until smooth. Finish off with the zesty lemon garlic herb gremolata and you’ve got a filling, but not overly heavy soup. The earthly, roasted flavors of the leeks and asparagus go perfectly with the freshness of the gremolata and make for a great lunch.
Originally posted May 17th, 2011
Roasted Asparagus Soup with Spring Herb Gremolata via Epicurious