When asparagus is cooked awhile, as in a soup, it can turn a duller color of green. The remedy used here to create a vibrant green soup is to add a bit of fresh spinach when blending. You can also garnish the soup with a bit of finely chopped dill.

Serves 6

  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, divided
  • 2 whole leeks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced (white, light, and dark green parts)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste

1. Rinse asparagus and remove about 1 inch off the bottom, and cut the rest into 1- or 1 1/2-inch pieces. In a thick-bottomed soup pot over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter or oil and sauté asparagus, stirring often for about 8 minutes. After 5 minutes, pull out 6 asparagus tops for a garnish. Set asidesautéed asparagus in a bowl.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter or oil to the soup pot, and sauté leeks for about 8 minutes. Add wine, if using, and cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken stock or water, cayenne, and potato, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, add back the asparagus, and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

3. Purée the soup in two batches in a blender (not a food processor) until very smooth, adding 1 cup of spinach to each batch. Blend thoroughly, at least a minute, so the soup is creamy. (Be careful to fill blender only 2/3 full and drape a kitchen towel over the top for safety, as hot liquids can cause pressure during blending.) Season with salt and white pepper. Keep tasting and adding salt until the soup tastes flavorful, not bland.

4. Stir in the crème fraiche or cream and the lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish each with a cooked asparagus tip.

This recipe was originally published with the article, The Age of Asparagus.