At springtime, I adore so much. How can I not when the days are longer, bulbs are in full bloom, artichokes are ripe for noshing, smashed English peas hearty up my morning toast, and asparagus shows up eager to be grilled to a light char with a sweet center?
I especially love spring soups. Actually, I love soups of all seasons, but spring soups have a whimsical air about them––light, herbaceous, often thin, and sometimes chilled. Being a soup, they represent a sense of comfort while the temperatures are still cool-ish, but are light enough to be classified as springtime fare.
Last week, I was craving such a soup. I wanted something velvety, vibrant, savory, and light. I had left over cauliflower, garlic, and asparagus from a recent pickling fest, and decided they were going to purée perfectly into that soup de jour. I lightly cooked the hearty vegetables with white pepper, sea salt, and sage, and then blended them into a silky and satisfying velout. The very best part is I spent no more than fifteen minutes in the kitchen.
Makes: approx. 4 servings
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets (use stems as well)
1 tablespoon sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
6 cups filtered water
10 ounces asparagus stems, chopped (reserve tips for garnish)
Shallots, sliced and pan sautéed in coconut oil until crispy
Celery leaves, chopped
Asparagus Tips (blanched for thirty seconds in boiling water, and then chilled in a bath of ice water.)
1. Heat oil and ghee in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Sauté chopped shallots and garlic until just soft, about four to five minutes.
2. Add cauliflower florets, and stir to coat with oil. Add salt, white pepper, and sage, and heat thirty seconds.
3. Turn heat to high, add water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus stems, and boil for one minute.
4. Remove from heat, and in batches, transfer to a high-speed blender. Purée each batch on high for one minute. Return to soup pot and cool on the counter. May be enjoyed at room temperature, lightly warmed, or chilled.
5. In wide, shallow bowls, stack a few asparagus tips, and top with crispy shallots, celery leaves, and chives. Pour soup around the garnishes, and finish with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.