MEATLESS MONDAY: ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH SRIRACHA & AVOCADO CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Asparagus.  I can’t get enough of it this time of year.  It’s one of the first bright green vegetables to poke its head out of the ground.  We’re on the safe side of winter by now, but stretches of warm days are still likely to be followed by strings of cool ones.  Which makes soup a good plan.

I have just enough Mango & Black Bean Salad left from yesterday to stir into some shredded cabbage, and roll it all up in a whole-grain burrito.  It should be perfect with this soup.

Remember the vegetable stock of a few days ago?  Onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms stems, garlic peels, asparagus ends, parsley – all those flavors will lend a deeper complexity to the soup than straight water alone.  And it’s not going to be a cream soup.  Instead, the garnish will be some crème fraîche with a mashed avocado stirred in because it will pick up the lemon notes in the soup and also because avocado makes everything better.  And we’ll mix in some Sriracha to keep it all interesting.  I’m experimenting with a soup that can be served either warm or chilled.  Because hot summer days and nights aren’t far away. . . fingers crossed.

ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH SRIRACHA & AVOCADO CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Serves 4

The soup comes together very quickly – start to finish, under an hour.  Be sure to save the onion peels (but not the root end), garlic peels, and asparagus ends for your next batch of stock.

This is a puréed soup, and a perfect job for an immersion blender.  I can’t sing the praises of the tool more highly.  I was a late convert, as I’m reluctant to take on additional appliances or gadgets until I’m certain I’ll use them.  The first time I used an immersion blender, I was a goner.  I love it.  Treat yourself to one, or put in on your birthday wish list.

As I mentioned, I decided to forego cream here.  Make no mistake, I love cream in asparagus soup.  But I wanted one that could be frozen, and also that could be served chilled.  I have a feeling it will make a perfect appetizer of a summer evening’s backyard barbecue, served in demitasse cups, or even shot glasses.

Olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled, 1/4″ dice

2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, minced

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed about 3″ from the bottom, 1/2″ dice

1 quart (32 ounces) vegetable stock

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Sea or kosher salt and grinds of pepper to taste

1 medium or 1/2 large avocado for garnish

8 ounces crème fraîche (or sour cream) for garnish*

Sriracha to taste for garnish

Chives for garnish

A note to my vegan friends:  omit the crème fraîche from the garnish, and use simply the avocado with some Sriracha stirred in.

  1. Film the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil and warm over medium heat.  When the oil is hot (it will shimmer, or “ribbon”), add the onions and some salt.  Stir occasionally.  They should not brown.  When they’ve softened and appear translucent, add the garlic and sauté until it gives off that wonderful cooked garlic aroma.  Add asparagus and stock.  Bring soup to a simmer, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to just maintain an active simmer.  Continue to simmer until asparagus pieces are very tender when pierced with a paring knife.  Be careful not to cook them to that dreadful army green color.
  2. When asparagus is done, remove pot from heat.  Purée right in the pot with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, transfer in safe batches to a food processor or blender.  Alt-alternatively, get yourself an immersion blender.  Purée the soup until it is a beautifully smooth as you can get it.  Stir in the lemon juice and zest (Meyer, if they’re available), and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Return soup pot to lowest heat and cover the pot to keep it warm while you prepare the garnish.
  3. I use a mini-chop for the avocado and crème fraîche purée, but you can just as well mash the avocado on a board until it is really, really smooth, then stir it into the crème fraîche.  Either way, add the Sriracha to taste at the end.  A word to the wise:  start with a small amount, for what I trust are obvious reasons.
  4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Drop a generous spoonful of the avocado-crème fraîche-Sriracha garnish right in the center.  Snip some fresh chives over the top.
Advertisements

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Entrées, Gluten-free, Meatless Monday, RECIPES, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to MEATLESS MONDAY: ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH SRIRACHA & AVOCADO CRÈME FRAÎCHE

  1. Fabulous soup, the avocado creme fraiche sriracha cream sounds heavenly. Oh, I can totally see serving this soup chilled. Delicious!

  2. Karen Rush says:

    I am amazed how our lives run in parallel. Not only do I cook for one, live alone with precious dogs, have offspring sprung to other meaningful life … I seem to be cooking much the same stuff as you often even on the same day. I would love to say I have the same sense of humor. It’s hard to judge one’s self in this regard. I do know that I roar with laughter and I writhe with indignation on your behalf when I read your words at times. I agree with you constantly. However, I am not a baker nor do I have a sweet tooth in my body so the baking stuff passes me by … It’s not in my DNA. Back to asparagus soup. Love your recipe and thank you for sharing. Yesterday morning I made a chicken noodle soup with a particularly good batch of home cooked chicken broth I had in the freezer. My feisty 87 year old mother fiercely lives alone and is going blind. I cook for her and take it to her. I poached an organic chicken and chopped some of the breast meat and added sliced asparagus, finely sliced scallions, hand broken Italian thin spaghetti, lemon zest and finely diced tomatoes (minus seeds and juice). The flavor of the asparagus lingers still … it was more reminiscent of spring now long gone here as we quickly transition into mid autumn. I also made Mum Alice Waters’ spicy cauliflower soup yesterday. She has decided soup for dinner is all she wants which means each one I prepare has to be tasty and packed with goodness. At nearly 88 years a lot of her bits aren’t working. Happily for her and me, her taste buds are in great shape.

    Living alone I have found that I will often not take the trouble to cook as I would like to eat just for myself especially at the end of the day. Soups packed with flavor and goodness are really enjoyable nutritious meals. Your recent soup blogs were wonderful and I thank you for them.

    • Now for another parallel: my dad also loved soups. He lived in a retirement community, but would grow tired of the food at times, and when he did, I would take him soups. I used to make him one that was basically his favorite linguine with clam sauce, but in soup form. He couldn’t manipulate a fork well enough for the pasta version, so I’d break it up as you did, and thin it out with clam juice and stock. Your chicken soup and the cauliflower soup sound fantastic! How kind of you to be so attentive to your mother. You may not have a baking gene, but I suspect you’ve got the fiercely feisty ones! I am so enjoying corresponding with you, Karen. Thank you for such a long, lovely note.

  3. Hannah says:

    This soup has my name all over it – avocado, asparagus, creme fraiche and sriracha in one place? Oh yeah!! And immersion blenders are the best!

  4. I am TOTALLY making this. I love asparagus – we’re on the same pate on this today since I just posted my Asparagus Quiche recipe. But I’ve never included avocado in it. I running out now to buy more asparagus! Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    • I just saw your beautiful post, as was about to write to you with the same! Asparagus quiche is divine. Thanks, Susan.

      • I got all the ingredients for your soup and am making it for dinner tonight. I was at a honey tasting last night, and didn’t get a chance to make it. It will be perfect for the spring rains we’re having this week.

      • A honey tasting! Wow, that sounds wonderful. I hope you’ll write a post about it. Enjoy the soup! Weather is odd here, too – it looks much warmer outside than it actually is. I’m usually either over- or underdressed.

      • Ditto! And yes, I’m thinking about an angle on it, but I’m going to write about it. It was so interesting – it was led by a woman who’s written 21 cookbooks and her next one, coming out next spring is on honey.

      • Fascinating. I love honey, and I very much look forward to your discussion.

  5. Pingback: A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs, “No, you can’t deduct that…” « twomuffinsinanoven

  6. My hubby (who takes the photos for our blog) is the official “King of Immersion Blender Use”…we could not live without that handy tool either. So great at “disguising” soup to appear filled with cream…yet none exists in the soup! Clever trick, that blender. Your recipe looks great.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s