Spring is here–yay! Fresh seasonal produce has started appearing in the store–slowly at first, but the collection will grow as we move forward into summer and then fall. For now, I’m more than content with the beautifully young and tender bunches of asparagus, bright red and juicy strawberries, and fragrant bunches of slender green onions that fill produce bins.
Asparagus gets me especially excited as it truly is seasonal. Green onions are sold year-round, should they be needed for topping tacos, chili, and the like. But asparagus is something I’ll only buy from late-March to maybe mid-June. It is sold at other times, but only because it is shipped in from far far away and at $6ish a pound, wouldn’t be worth it. I’ll enjoy my asparagus now. Check out this gorgeous bunch.
The success of the other day’s pureed bell pepper soup inspired me to take things a step further and do something similar with asparagus. Instead of making a proper soup, I simmered the asparagus (after trimming, washing, and breaking into smaller pieces) in a small amount of water until the asparagus was bright green. I then added about 1 1/2 cups water and heated through. The immersion blender worked it into a smooth puree, after which I stirred in a spoonful or two of low-fat sour cream. My daughter had just brought in a handful of chives from our front porch (another sure sign of spring), so I snipped a few of those into the “soup,” then seasoned with salt and thinned it with a bit more water.
The next step was to spoon the beautiful green puree into soup bowls. On top and on only one side went a ladleful of the reheated bowl of red. The pretty green/red contrast would have looked lovely at a Christmas meal, but asparagus and red bells are spring and summer veggies (at least they are here in Minnesota), so that won’t happen here. But my husband and I enjoyed this soup-on-a-soup for last night’s meal alongside leftover shredded roast pork and baked sweet potato chips.
The final bowl was pretty for sure, but it also made for a nice flavor combination. The red bell pepper soup had a strong and savory flavor while the pureed asparagus–salt and a hint of chives the only seasoning–was content to be in the background adding a lightly sweet note. As well, I had been a bit overzealous in pureeing and brought the asparagus to a froth–lots of air bubbles made for a lighter flavor and texture.
Can’t say that my kids ate the soup (though they each tried a spoonful), but the adults at the table spooned up our veggies with gusto. It was a fun and easy way to make something simple look elegant. You could combine any number of “creamy” vegetable soups and purees to come up with different color and flavor combos. Creamy potato and broccoli soups, carrot and tomato. Or do dessert and puree chilled fruit soups in contrasting colors–spoon a chilled honeydew soup alongside a cantaloupe soup for a Chilled Melon Mix-Up. If you enjoy shopping produce aisles and farmers’ markets, think pureed soups next time you shop for seasonal fruits and veggies.