When we got home, I walked straight into my kitchen to make asparagus soup. I've had it on my mind since S. posted a comment about an asparagus and artichoke soup she'd recently made. In honor of the bounty of spring produce that soon will have us thronging the market stalls, I ditched the artichokes and let the asparagus go solo.
I think, in part, I was inspired by all the recipe editing I've been doing for the cookbook of a certain San Francisco landmark seafood restaurant. In any case, I went out on my own, using these trusted sources as a guide, and created my own recipe.
Catherine's Creamy Asparagus Soup
1 lb. fresh asparagus, stalks snapped off and spears chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
2 TBSP unsalted butter
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, diced
1/4 cups diced shallot (about 1 large shallot)
pinch salt plus more to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
2 TBSP feta cheese
2 TBSP shelled pistachios
fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425º.
In a broiling pan, toss three asparagus spears with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the oven is preheated, roast them for 8 minutes. When they are done, chop them into inch-long pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, the shallot, a pinch of salt and a few fresh grindings of pepper (be circumspect with the salt, as the garnish will add a fair bit of saltiness). Stir to coat. Sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the asparagus and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer until the asparagus is tender, 10-12 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender (or stationary blender). Add the half and half, adjust seasonings if needed, and return to medium-low heat until warmed through.
Garnish with a few pieces of roasted asparagus, some crumbled feta cheese and a few pistachios.