Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cream of Asparagus Soup with Thyme Croutons

I started with this very simple Cream of Asparagus Soup, courtesy of Martha Stewart, and added the asparagus-and-crouton topping to vary up the textures: 

Serves 8: 
-3 Tbs butter
-1 1/2 c shallots (about 6 large)
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-3 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces. Reserve the asparagus tips.
-coarse salt
-1/3 c heavy cream
-2 to 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

-Sautee the shallots and thyme in the butter until soft and golden; add flour and stir constantly until incorporated. 
-Add asparagus and 6 cups water, season generously w salt; cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 2-4 minutes, until asparagus is bright green.
-Working in small batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth.
-Return to the pot, stir in cream and lemon juice, and adjust for salt (and white pepper if desired)

For the topping, in the meantime:
-Chop 1/2ish an old baguette into very small cubes, season with TONS of olive oil, thyme, sea salt, and pepper.
-Toast in a 375ยบ oven until golden (7-10 minutes?)
-Heat a couple of Tbs olive oil in a skillet until very hot, add the asparagus tips, season with salt and pepper, and sautee/fry until tender and slightly charred on the outside.
-Combine the croutons and asparagus tips, and serve alongside the soup as a topping.