Each season brings a new reason … to make soup!
In the case of spring, what could be more representative of the burgeoning green glory all around us than asparagus? How about certified organic asparagus hand-picked at a local family farm that’s been in business for 39 years? Mazak Farms is located between London and St. Thomas (that’s in Ontario, Canada for those of you who erroneously picture me with an English accent).
As fond as I am of asparagus, I’m afraid I’ve been preparing it pretty much the same way for years: grilled or roasted, with olive oil, lemon and sometimes garlic.
A thoughtful friend (thank you, Paulie!) gave us just over a pound of the delectable spears from Mazak Farms a few days ago. Having been felled with a bout of bronchitis, all I wanted to eat was soup. I also wanted the flavour of asparagus to shine through, so kept the ingredients and seasonings to a minimum.
This is a simple, dairy-free creamy soup, the texture achieved through pureeing. Although creamy, it still has a bit of texture to it which adds interest. To bump up the green, I added a couple of handfuls of baby spinach right at the very end, making for a pretty soup with bright green flecks floating throughout a paler green base.
What can I say, it’s springtime in a bowl!
As if the flavour and nutritive value of this soup aren’t reasons enough to eat the whole bowlful, it’s a simple pleasure to see the birds and flowers painted on the china bowl emerge as another reward for eating it all up.
Asparagus Soup with Spinach
To trim the woody ends off asparagus, hold the spear in the middle with your left hand and bend the bottom of the spear with your right hand until the fibrous end snaps off. Simple! (Or, reverse left and right — it’s up to you!)
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 large (very large) yellow cooking onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- about 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 900 ml vegetable stock (low sodium)
- 500 ml water
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for several minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent. Avoid browning. Add the celery and asparagus, salt and pepper. Let cook for a few minutes before adding the stock and water.
Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Stir in the spinach; it will wilt right away. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings if required.