Welcome to my blog, a virtual scrapbook and road map for crafting a well-curated life. 

My husband and I are 30-something Bostonians with a passion for good food, fine company and exploring new places both near and far.  Follow along as I document our adventures and share my tips for traveling, dining and entertaining in style.

'Cream of Spring' Soup

'Cream of Spring' Soup

Sweet spring onions, tender asparagus and Boston Bibb lettuce are blended into a velvety bisque that sings of the season.  Topped with a dollop of lemony crème fraîche, this rich yet bright-tasting soup makes the perfect first course of an elegant spring meal.


Ingredients

'Cream of Spring' Soup

  • Two pounds of fresh asparagus
  • Two to three sweet spring onions, chopped (approximately three cups)
  • One head of Boston Bibb lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • Four cups of homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
  • The rind from a wedge of imported Parmesan
  • One cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 medium lemon (zest only)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional: one cup of fresh spring peas or a handful of pea tendrils

Lemon Crème Fraîche

  • 1/2 medium lemon (juice and zest)
  • Eight ounces of crème fraîche
  • One clove of garlic, pressed or very finely minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

Snap off the woody end of each asparagus spear (each stalk has a natural breaking point an inch or so from the bottom) and discard.  Chop the spears and set aside.

In a heavy stock pan, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender but not brown.

Add the chicken broth to the pot together with the chopped asparagus and the Parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

While the asparagus is cooking, use a microplane or fine grater to zest the lemon, taking care not grate the bitter white pith. 

Squeeze juice from half a lemon into a small mixing bowl, discarding any seeds.  Add half of the lemon zest (reserving the other half for the soup),  crème fraîche and pressed or minced garlic and whisk to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the asparagus is tender, remove the Parmesan rind from the pot and discard.  Add the chopped lettuce as well as the peas or pea tendrils, if using (reserving a few tendrils to garnish).  Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until tender.

Remove the soup from heat and puree until smooth, slowly adding the heavy cream while blending in order to create an emulsion (which will lend a creamy mouth feel).  Although a traditional blender or food processor may be used, I highly recommend investing in an immersion blender for both safety and convenience.  Hot liquids expand when processed, and over-filling a kitchen blender will almost certainly result in an explosion. 

Pass the blended soup through a fine sieve, using the bottom of a ladle to press out all liquid and discarding any tough solids that remain in the strainer.

Stir the reserved lemon zest into the soup and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top each serving with a dollop of lemon crème fraîche, garnishing with a few pea tendrils if desired.  Serve immediately.



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