It has been extremely hot especially in recent days. By my wife’s request, I made cold asparagus soup. She says it is the essence of everything good about asparagus. It is a perfect starter dish for hot summer days.
For about 4 servings, I used asparagus (10, thick ones, not the pencil kind), white potato (one medium), onion (one, small), bay leaves (3), chicken broth (16 oz) and cream (1/4 cup). First I cut off the tips of the asparagus (about 1 inch from the top) and blanched them for 1 minute. Then I shocked it in cold water. I set them aside as a garnish. I then cut off the very bottoms which are woody and discard them. I slice the remaining stems on the bias in 1/3 inch thick. I skinned and diced the potato (small dice). I sauteed finely diced onion in olive oil (1 tbs) for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes semitransparent. I then added the sliced asparagus, diced potato and saute for another minute. I added the chicken broth and three bay leaves. Once it come to the boil, I turn down the flame to low and put the lid on. I let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the ingredients are soft and cooked. I remove all three bay leaves (I count them very carefully) and, using an immersion blender, homogenize the soup. Toward the end, I add 1/4 of a cup of cream. I taste it and season with freshly ground white pepper and salt. I season a bit more severely than I would for hot soups since the taste will be somewhat muted when the soup is served cold. I did not strain the soup but you could strain it to make it perfectly smooth. Cool it down to the room temperature and then chill it in a refrigerator for, at least, several hours. I add a bit more cream when I serve it and garnish with the asparagus tips. Perfect cold soup to start hot summer days.