Monday, February 23, 2009

Fine Cooking Cook the Issue Challenge - Create Your Own Creamy Vegetable Soups

This was our Grand Finale: Asparagus Soup, garnished with fried leeks, a seared scallop, blanched asparagus tips, and a drizzle of white truffle oil. We followed the Create Your Own Creamy Vegetable Soup formula, with a few minor changes.

We have participated in a few of Chef Martin Woesle’s Sunday cooking classes at Mille Fleurs and recently prepared his recipe for Green Asparagus Soup with Trout Mousse Timbale. Before I made this soup tonight, I pulled out his recipe.

In order to retain the bright green color of green vegetable soups (asparagus, broccoli, spinach, watercress, etc.), he advises to cook the soup for a very short time. If preparing the soup in advance, he advises to chill it in ice water right after it’s made, rather than keeping it warm on the stove for extended periods. For this asparagus soup, I followed Chef Martin’s method of blanching the asparagus tips in salt water for about a minute, chilling them in ice water, and then reserving for garnish.

After sautéing onions and leeks in butter, I added the asparagus stalks and a little flour. I then added about half the chicken broth, brought that to a quick boil, and added the remaining chicken broth, and brought that to a boil. I used a touch of white wine and a pinch of saffron.

I blended the soup in the blender, strained it through a fine sieve, returned it to the pan, and added the heavy cream and squeeze of lemon juice.

For garnish, I used fried leeks, a seared scallop, asparagus tips, and a few drops of white truffle oil.

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