SOUP, ASPARAGUS LEEK
2 pounds bias cut asparagus tips and a few stems, cleaned, stem end removed and reserved for stock
- 4 medium leeks, about 4 cups split, cleaned, and sliced thinly
- 2 cups chicken broth (see recipe or purchased salt free no yeast must stock)
- 3-4 cups water (part of which up to 1 cup can be apple cider)
- 1-2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander, fresh ground
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen (omit if not available)
- ground pepper to taste, lightly if using fennel pollen
- 2-4 tablespoons creme fraiche, or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons bias cut spring onions (some whites and mostly green)
- Salt and pepper croutons
Asparagus stock: use the trimmed stems of the asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces. Place into pot and cover with water and chicken stock. Simmer 25 minutes. Strain out solids and reserve the stock.
Leeks: Place small amount EVOO in saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in sliced leeks, salt and coriander. Reduce heat; cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes to cook vegetables. Stir in apple cider and reduce a little. Stir in remainder of the chicken-asparagus broth and fennel pollen, if using. Bring back to simmer over medium – low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Asparagus tips: Blanch tips and tender stems that are bias cut in boiling salted water until the color sets about 30 seconds; immediately stop cooking in ice water. Drain and dry and hold until needed to finish the dish. At service, heat a little EVOO in saute pan; add asparagus and saute until heated through and tender (check). Adjust seasoning with salt pepper and coriander.
Plate up: Place hot asparagus in center of a warmed bowl. Laddle soup over aspargus; top with 1 teaspoon of creme fraiche or sour cream. Garnish with bias cut green onions and salt and pepper croutons.