White asparagus soup (Spargelcrèmesuppe)
Last Saturday we went across the French border to go to the food market at St Louis, it only took us less than 20 minutes to get there. This is one of the nice thing to live in Basel where you can go across the French or German border in less than 30 minutes. It is now the white asparagus season and we have the luxury to sample various white asparagus produced in either Basel (from Bottmingen?; Germany (from Badischer); or France (from Alsace).
In St Louis, the Alsace asparagus looked so irresistible and adorable as you can see the slight purple from the tips down to the middle.
We bought 1kg and ate three quarters on Sunday ate in a traditional way by simple steamed them and made a homemade hollandaise sauce to go with them. The remaining I made a spargelcremesuppe tonight. Last year when I tried to make this soup it was not as successful as this time, it tasted a bit bitter and I thought because it was towards the end of the spargel season. Today I found this article and now I understand why, it was because I did not peel deep enough to remove the skin throughly. Anyway, despite this time, I have removed the skin properly but I still found some traced of the fibery stuff which as described in Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, you have to sieve the soup to get an absolute creamy smooth soup.
Asparagus season is short and is said it finishes on 24 June each year so if you come across them, don’t wait further to buy a bunch to enjoy !
Serves 2 (adapted from About.com)
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 spears white asparagus, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 500ml broth, either chicken or vegetable
- 1 bay leave
- 2 tbsp dry white wine (or a bit of lemon juice)
- 1/3 cup half and half cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp cornflour, dissolved in a little cold water
- fresh ground pepper
- parsley or chives for garnish
- Cut the asparagus tips and set aside. Peel the white asparagus with a peeler or a small knife*.
- Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent in a small soup pan. Add the pieces of asparagus to the onion except the tips and let them steam for 5 minutes at medium low heat.
- Add in the broth and simmer for about 30 minutes at medium high heat, the asparagus should become soft by then.
- Purée the soup with a handheld blender until smooth.
- Add the reserved asparagus tips and simmer for about 10 mins.
- Turn the stove to medium heat and add in the white wine, cornflour dissolved in water and lastly the cream. Stir to mix but make sure the soup is hot enough but not boiling vigourously.
- Taste if need to add any salt.
- Pass the soup through a fine sieve when serve. Garnish with parsley.
*Make sure the skin is peeled as clean as possible otherwise the soup may taste bitter from the skin. I found it’s better to peel with a small knife than a peeler despite it peels a little deeper.
White asparagus with homemade hollandaise sauce
My other asparagus recipes: