From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm not a vegetarian, much less a vegan, but I have been known to make some darn good meatless meals. We had a guest this weekend who avoids meat, and I wanted to serve a really nice meal that I knew she would enjoy. I have lots of meatless recipes, many of them developed specifically for her, but she visits so often that I've worked my way through the recipes I'm really proud of. While searching for new ideas and options, I found a recipe for asparagus soup that had been developed by Martha Shulman for The New York Times. The recipe was unusual in that it uses green garlic. Green garlic is young garlic that is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. When pulled, it resembles a large scallion with a deep green stalk and a pale white bulb. It can be found in farmer's markets for a week or two in the springtime. While its flavor is unique an adequate substitute can be fashioned by combining one small leek with one large garlic clove. The soup is really easy to make and the only spot that might cause you trouble is the tempering of the eggs. If you follow the directions in the recipe below, you'll be fine, as long as you remember the soup must stay at a low, slow simmer once eggs are added. I also recommend that this be done just before you plan to serve the soup. I let my soup sit for a while and the lovely creamy broth began to turn green. The wait time did not affect the flavor of the soup, but it did lose some of its eye appeal. This is a really nice spring soup and I heartily recommend it when asparagus is in season . I hope you'll come back tomorrow when I'll be featuring the vegetable crepes that were served with it. Here's the recipe for the soup.
Asparagus Soup with Green Garlic and Eggs...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman via The New York Times
1 pound asparagus
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 bulb spring garlic, separated into cloves if cloves have formed, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup pasta or rice, cooked, or 4 to 6 slices toasted Italian bread (optional)
1) Break off woody ends of the asparagus stalks. Combine them with stock or water and garlic in a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove asparagus stems from broth with a slotted spoon. Discard Stems. Season broth to taste with salt and pepper. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to broth. Simmer 8 to 12 to minutes. Asparagus should be tender and fragrant, but remain bright in color. Do not overcook.
2) Just before serving, beat eggs, cheese, and parsley together in a bowl. With soup at a bare simmer, whisk a ladleful into egg mixture, stir well and then whisk back into soup. Have the soup at a bare simmer. Making sure that the soup isn’t boiling, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture. Stir well and whisk back into the soup. Whisk constantly over very low heat for 3 minutes, then ladle into bowls and serve over a toasted slice of peasant bread or over a large spoonful of pasta or rice. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.
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