A creamy rich asparagus soup for our times, appetizer or light lunch, the choice is yours

“A sign of elegance only the wealthy could afford at one time.”

It has been said many times in the past and no doubt it will be said many times more that asparagus is truly a wonderful vegetable, a gift from on high. A member of the lily family, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), was named by the Greeks and adapted in turn from a Persian word meaning sprout.

The asparagus growing beds in Northern Italy were famous during the Renaissance period. These graceful spears have always been a sign of elegance, and in times past were a delicacy only the wealthy could afford. Today we all can enjoy a vegetable that the once famous Roman emperors relished. Here is a recipe for Creamy Rich Asparagus Soup that I’m sure these august men would have enjoyed, if anyone in those days had managed to assemble the ingredients for producing it.

Ingredients
2 ½ lbs fresh asparagus
4 cups of milk
2 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Prepare and serve
First, snap the ends off of the asparagus and place the cleaned asparagus along with the milk and chicken stock in a saucepan. Then turn the heat on and bring to a boil slowly. Simmer on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender. Remove from the stove and blend in a food processor until chunky. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the sifted flour and cook until it is a pale golden colour. Add the asparagus soup and stir until the soup comes back to a boil.

When serving I always like to add a little wow factor for the soup. I clean three spears of asparagus, wrapping each one with a little porchetta, (you could use prosciutto or parma-ham). Lay the wrapped spears on a cooking tray and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over them, then bake in the oven at a medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour the soup into a bowl, drizzle a little of the fresh cream into the soup, then lay the baked asparagus on top of the soup and serve. Your guest will be impressed by the appearance as well as by the flavour.

Originally published on Lifestyles 55

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