Cold Asparagus Soup with Local Chevre

Ingredients

2 pounds asparagus, rinsed, bottom 2 inches trimmed (reserve for stock)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion (or 2-3 medium-size local scallions), peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, washed and diced
1 leek, trimmed, cut in half on the bias, washed and diced
2 quarts Asparagus Stock (or vegetable or chicken stock)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley sprigs (reserve stems for stock)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 4-ounce log Montrachet chevre, divided (or your favorite plain, soft goat cheese)

Instructions

Trim off top inch of asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water 1-½ minutes; then shock immediately in ice water, drain, and reserve for garnish.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, add oil. Cook onion, celery, and leek, covered, about 10 minutes, until vegetables are translucent but not browned.

Add Asparagus Stock (or use vegetable or chicken stock), cover, and cook about 15 minutes. Add asparagus spears and cook uncovered 4-5 minutes, or until stalks are tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Puree carefully—remember, the soup is very hot—in batches until soup is smooth. Don’t fill your blender more than a third full as you do this.

Set an empty bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Now strain puréed soup into the smaller bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir vigorously to cool soup quickly; then cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, adjust seasoning and consistency to taste (add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup). Spoon a few teaspoons chèvre (scooped or crumbled) into the bottom of a demitasse cup; place blanched asparagus tips on top of chèvre, and carefully ladle soup around chevre. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Asparagus Stock

Yield: 

8 appetizer servings

Course

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