MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 10 minutes • COOK TIME: 20 minutes
Gone are the days when asparagus was boiled until it resembled a gray Seattle drizzle. Here we roast asparagus until it becomes sweet and caramelized in a way that’s hard to believe until it’s tried. Asparagus is full of antioxidants that help in DNA synthesis and repair. In this soup, it’s paired with the nerve-protective benefits of pistachio as part of the minty, creamy topping. This is some serious yum in a bowl.
1 cup water or organic broth or stock
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 bunches of asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off, remaining stalks peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 Yellow Finn or Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups Old-Fashioned Chicken Stock or store-bought organic stock, plus more if needed
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the pistachio cream, put the water, pistachios, mint, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste; you may want to add a bit more salt.
Cut off the asparagus tips and put the stalks and tips on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Toss evenly to coat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Remove the asparagus tips from the baking sheet and reserve for garnishing the soup.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 4 minutes, then add the potato and a generous pinch of salt. Stir occasionally, allowing the potatoes to soften and the onion to turn golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 cup of the broth and deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
In batches, puree the soup in a blender, adding the broth first, then the vegetables and asparagus. Blend until velvety smooth, about 2 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more broth ½ cup at a time. Return the soup to the pot and gently reheat. Taste; you may want to add a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.
Stir 1 cup of the pistachio cream into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved asparagus tips.
Cook's Note: For an ultra-smooth velvety texture, go one step further: strain through a fine-mesh sieve, using the back of a wooden spoon to push the liquid through. The ends of the asparagus can be stringy, so peeling just the ends will ensure that you have the smoothest soup possible.
Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.