Asparagus Soup

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I've said on a number of occasions that Rob and I are afraid of commitment.  We were not afraid of committing to one another, but in other areas of our lives we are "behind" our friends and peers in terms of committing to a geographic location and buying a house, committing to another being (e.g., a dog or cat), committing to having children, etc.  I put "behind" in quotation marks because I firmly believe that everyone should live their own life and do as they please and that comparing oneself to others leads nowhere good.  However, that doesn't mean that I don't occasionally wonder "Why don't I want the things my friends seem to want?"

Interestingly, about a month ago Rob came home and mentioned that we might consider buying a house.  I agreed immediately.  I'd been thinking the same thing for a week or so but hadn't mentioned it to Rob yet.  The conversation was reminiscent of when we decided to move from Boston to Denver.  At that time, we both finished a long week of work, came home on a Friday night and said "We need to make a change."  A mere hour later we were having a celebratory dinner at B&G Oysters after determining that we would move to Denver, the next day we were looking for new jobs, and six weeks later we moved.  It may take us a while to come around to an idea, but once we get there, we don't look back.

We have now looked at a number of houses in Denver and perhaps we'll call ourselves homeowners in 2012.  If you had asked me in February if a house of our own was something I wanted, I would have said "no way," but now I find myself daydreaming of a small garden, a sunlight bedroom, our own space to improve and make our own... and of course a sunny, well-equipped kitchen in which to make delicious food.  

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A trip to Boston, house hunting, and a visit from dear friends have meant much less time in the kitchen for me.  I also know that the Colorado farmer's market season begins on May 5th and frankly I am finding the grocery store quite depressing these days.  I want rhubarb and asparagus and spring greens and I don't want them from Mexico.  I did find some Colorado-grown asparagus at In Season Local Market and while I typically roast asparagus with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper, I thought I'd mix it up.  

Although this recipe was written as chilled asparagus soup, I found it delicious cold or hot.  I tried it both ways and liked it equally... but today it is 80 degrees outside and I'll have it chilled at lunch.  The soup is light (no heavy cream) but has substance - I didn't strain my soup over  a sieve after blending it so each bite includes a few asparagus pieces, which I prefer.  If you want a silky soup, blend the soup and strain it through a sieve.  I also use some leftover soup as a sauce for pasta to which I added some spring vegetables.  However you choose to eat this, you'll be amazed by the vibrant shade of green!

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Asparagus Soup

Adapted from the April 2012 Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 6 thin asparagus spears, thinly sliced lengthwise (for garnishing the soup)

Preparation

1.  Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent (approximately 8–10 minutes).  Add ½-inch asparagus pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender (approximately 4–5 minutes).  Add the broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until asparagus is tender, 8–10 minutes.  Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Let the mixture cool slightly.

2.  Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth or blend the soup in the large pot using an immersion blender.  Stir the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours or serve warm if you prefer.  DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Keep chilled.

3.  When you are ready to serve the soup, garnish each bowl with the sliced asparagus stalks and drizzle each bowl with a few drops of oil.

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