Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amuse-Bouche - Asparagus Soup with Vanilla

Recipe Source: delicious days

Prep/cooking time: about 45 min.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1 l water
the peel of 500 g white asparagus (organic) Green asparagus will do too!

5 tbsp butter
sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
200 g white asparagus, peeled. Green asparagus will do too!
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
100 g heavy cream (plus 1 or 2 tbsp extra)
a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground white pepper
1 large egg yolk (optional)

3-4 slices of Serrano ham (substitute with bacon or pancetta)

Add the water in a large pot, together with the asparagus peel. Bring to a boil and let simmer over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, then strain through a sieve.

Pour the broth back into the pot, bring to a boil again and add a teaspoon of butter, a generous pinch of salt, the sugar, the scraped out seeds of a vanilla bean (including the bean) and the roughly cut asparagus stalks (about 3 cm/1 inch). Let simmer for 15 minutes or until the asparagus becomes soft enough to be easily mashed with a fork, then strain again, keeping both broth and asparagus (discard the vanilla bean) for further use.

In a pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter until it starts to foam, then add the flour at once, mixing well with a whisk until smooth. Add the asparagus broth, about one cup at a time. Whisk constantly and vigorously to avoid any lumps until all of the broth is well incorporated, then add the cooked asparagus pieces and put the soup
back to a simmer.

Puree the soup with a hand-held blender until really smooth, then add the heavy cream and season to taste with sea salt, a little freshly ground nutmeg and white pepper.

Optional: Beat the egg yolk with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream, then whisk it in your soup. At this point the soup is not allowed to boil anymore, otherwise the egg yolk will curdle!

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