Asparagus Sorrel Soup
The Asparagus producer will be on the Quai St. Antoine for the next several weeks. Asparagus is just too delicious to hold back from buying. However much I love to pick up a long tender delicious tendril of freshly steamed asparagus and delicately eat it with my fingers, we can't really afford to do that at the moment. In order to still fully enjoy the taste of asparagus, I took advantage of the producers bargain bin, and bought some of the scraggly stems that cost 2€ a kilo. No need to worry, I know from experience that this will make a divine soup. We got some of the bottom rung asparagus, and I made sure to pick up a bunch of sorrel for 80 cents, among the other fresh new spring roots.
Asparagus Sorrel Soup
1/2 pound of asparagus
1 old potato
1 spring onion
1 small new carrot
1 tablespoon butter
a pinch of fresh thyme
2 european bay leaves or 1/2 california bay
1/2 a bunch of sorrel, about 16 leaves
about 2 cups chicken stock (optional)
Wash your vegetables and herbs, and put the thyme and sorrel aside. Cut the ends off the asparagus but don't bother to remove any rough spots from the stems. Slice them into 1 inch lengths. Roughly slice your spring onion, including the green part, if it's fresh enough, peeled potato, and carrot into chunks. In a two quart saucepan, melt the tablespoon of butter, and once the foam subsides, add add the chopped asaparagus, onions, potato, & carrot. Over medium heat, sweat the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 mintues, stirring regularly. Toss in the thyme and the bay leaves. Add liquid to cover. If you don't have home made chicken stock, use water. (we used water today - don't be tempted to add bouillon powder or canned stock!) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep at a rather lively simmer for 15 mintues. At the end of the 15 minutes, remove the thyme and bay leaves. Use the blender to puree the soup thoroughly. Strain the soup through the chinois to remove any rough fibers. Rinse the pan right quick and return the puree to the pan and put it over the heat again. Roll your sorrel leaves into a cigar and quickly slice them thinly into ribbons. Bring the asparagus puree to a simmer over medium heat and stir in the sorrel leaves. When the leaves soften and lighten in color (about a minute), puree the soup again, taste, and season with sea salt only. Serve with crusty bread. This goes well with a simple wine like a Macon on the dry side or petit Chablis.