Saturday, June 6, 2009

Asparagus and Green Garlic Soup

Last night I had my first Triathlon training session in the pool. I knew that I was going to need to eat before I swam, but I wanted something light and quick to make. Soup and salad fit the bill perfectly.

Earlier in the day I had been doing a bit of research about the green garlic in my box (because I had never used it before and I wasn't sure what to expect). Most resources said you could use it just as you would use garlic, but to expect a milder flavor. I wanted to really highlight the flavor of the green garlic so I kept my soup very simple, just five ingredients (I'm not counting olive oil and salt and pepper).

Here they are:

2 shallots (mince about a tablespoon for the salad, chop the rest)
3 bulbs green garlic, divided
a large bunch asparagus, stems trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
about 2 cups chicken broth
a couple tablespoons of cream

I minced a half bulb of green garlic (about 2 teaspoons) then set it aside. Then I chopped the remaining green garlic (bulbs and the light green part of the stems) along with the shallots (you don't have to take a lot of time chopping this nice because it's all going to get pureed at the end anyway). I sat a large saucepan over medium heat and heated up a little olive oil. When it was warm I added my chopped shallots, green garlic and a good pinch of kosher salt.

I let this sweat (saute without browning) for a while until the shallot was translucent. I added my asparagus and enough broth to just cover. Then I let this simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the soup was cooking I started on my salad. Here's the ingredients:

1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
a big pinch of sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper
a handful of salad greens
a few radishes, sliced thin
a few carrots, sliced thin on the bias
a couple of sunchokes, peeled and sliced thin (these aren't in the picture because they were a last minute crisper drawer find)

In a bowl I whisked together the shallot, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. While continuing to whisk, I drizzled in the olive oil to create an emulsion. At this point I tasted the dressing and decided to add the sugar. To the bowl I added my greens and sliced veggies and then tossed everything together.

At this point my soup had been simmering away and the asparagus was nice and tender. I added a splash of cream and then used my stick blender to puree the soup. A blender would have made this a much smoother puree, but I happen to like a little bit of texture in my blended soups, plus the stick blender is easier to use and clean.

I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper then topped the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and some of the minced fresh green garlic. I served the soup and salad with a piece of Parmesan-topped toast.

How was it? Well I am now a true believer in the power of green garlic. It is my mission to search this stuff out and use it every spring (the only time it is available). I make asparagus soup a lot (my clients love the stuff) and this just added a really nice flavor to the mix. The salad was also delightful (I'm really happy I found the sunchokes, they are so good in salad). The husband really liked everything too, which is a little surprising because he is not a fan of salads (unless they have lots of ranch dressing).

Dinner was so easy to make, we finished in plenty of time so that everything could settle before my swim (Mom always said to wait an hour after eating before getting in the water). So I guess I accomplished my mission of light and quick to make (with the nice addition of tastiness)

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