Spring is just around the corner and this is a great time to clean and support the body as we move from the warming foods of winter to fresh invigorating nutrition of spring. Asparagus contains a lot of folic acid, as well as Vitamins A, K, C and B1. These nutrients offer lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Asparagus also acts a diuretic and nourishes the digestive track. Along with the nutrient dense qualities of asparagus, the pistachios in the recipe add some good protein and B6! This is a great recipe to energize the body as we burst into the new season. Eat in good health!
Asparagus Soup with Pistachio Cream
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
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the pistachio cream, put the water, pistachios, mint, lemon juice, and 1/4 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 1/4 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.