Today’s recipe is another healthy, vegetable-laden dish– a fresh, simple soup that is brilliant served hot or cold. See, I told you I was going to eat my weight in veggies. This week the seasonal produce in my refrigerator– asparagus, pea shoots, and leeks– was just begging to be made into something wonderful. This soup is the result. It’s simple, though with seriously impressive flavors. What I mean is, even though it comes together in about 30 minutes from start to finish (if you’re skilled with a chef’s knife), it tastes surprisingly complex.
From the first spoonful, you can distinctly taste each of the main vegetables. Clean and crisp. And the lemon adds that nice acidity that frames the flavors of the asparagus, pea shoots, and leeks. As you stroll through the recipe, you’ll notice there are no herbs or spices (aside from salt and pepper). For this soup, I wanted the pure flavor of the vegetables to stand out. I also knew I didn’t want it packed with cream (though I love, love creamy soups). Instead, I added a Yukon Gold potato to provide that smooth texture.
This soup is very good by itself– especially as a chilled Summer dish. I also love it warm with a piece of toasted french bread and poached egg gently laid on top. Magic happens where egg yolk meets soup. Give it a try, you’ll see. One last thing to keep in mind is that the balance of flavors in this soup stands or falls on how much lemon and salt you add. As always, taste, taste, taste!
The Recipe: Spring Vegetable Soup
(Serves 4 — enjoy hot or cold)
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 pound asparagus
1 large white onion, chopped
1 medium leek, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
1 packed cup of pea shoots
squeeze of lemon
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
crusty french bread and poached eggs, optional
Prepare the asparagus by trimming the very ends. If you have some thick ones, peel the last 1 1/2-inch of the stock with a vegetable peeler. Cut off the tips of the asparagus and set aside. Cut up the remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup kettle, add the olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté the onion, leek, celery and a sprinkle of salt and pepper until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potato, and asparagus. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes and asparagus are tender. Then, put the pea shoots into the soup and cook for about 1 minute, or until the pea shoots have wilted a bit.
Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the reserved asparagus tips and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from water and place into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Remove soup from heat. Use an immersion blender or carefully pour the soup into a stand blender (in batches), blend the soup until creamy. Season with a squeeze of lemon, to taste, as well as salt and pepper. Seasoning this soup properly is key. A bit more lemon or salt can make all the difference. Add the asparagus tips to the soup or serve as a garnish on top. This soup is wonderful served hot or cold. It is outstanding served with toasted french bread and a poached egg on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a fantastic weekend!