Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
from an old issue of gourmet, this soup is a light first course for any meal.
- 4 1⁄2-5 cups vegetable broth or 4 1⁄2-5 cups chicken broth
- 1⁄4 teaspoon crumbled saffron thread
- 1⁄3 cup shelled natural pistachios or 1⁄3 cup pine nuts
- 3 1⁄2 lbs asparagus (about 3 large bunches)
- 1 large russet potato (baking)
- 1⁄4 cup margarine
- 1⁄2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- fresh ground black pepper
- In a small saucepan bring 1/2 cup broth to a boil and remove pan from heat.
- Stir saffron into hot broth and steep, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
- In a dry heavy skillet toast nuts over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant. remove.
- Chop nuts.
- Trim asparagus and cut into 2-inch pieces, reserving tips separately.
- Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water.
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water blanch tips 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender, and transfer with a slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking.
- Drain tips well and pat dry.
- Peel potato and cut enough into 1/2-inch cubes to measure 1 1/2 cups.
- In a 4-quart kettle cook asparagus stalks in margarine over moderate heat, stirring, 3 minutes.
- Stir in potato, saffron infusion, and 4 cups broth and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.
- In a blender purée mixture in batches until smooth (or use an immersion blender).
- In kettle stir together purée and enough of remaining broth to reach desired consistency.
- Add half of asparagus tips and bring soup to a simmer.
- While soup is heating, chop parsley.
- Season soup with pepper and salt.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with remaining asparagus tips, nuts, and parsley.
This is a nice, healthy soup that's easy to make, especially if you have an immersion or stick blender to puree the finished product. Because of the simple ingredients, the flavor of the asparagus takes center stage. I might have cooked my stalks a little too long for their size, since the soup had a very strong taste. I used pine nuts, roasting them as described, but didn't care for the contrast in textures in my mouth, but that's my preference. The flavor of the toasted nuts did compliment the soup very well. The best part about this was was that it was creamy without using any dairy.