A refreshing soup for spring or summer from Kathleen Flinn's The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. "I adapted this recipe from Hubert Keller at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco for a charity dinner. It's become my favourite all-time soup. The original version calls for caviar, but for most days, a small pile of sour cream, lemon and avocado would be my choice as a final garnish. You can add some sautéed shrimp or some crab if you feel luxurious. I use an immersible blender to purée the soup. If you don't have one, you can pulse it in a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary.
3 tbsp butter
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), sliced
2 shallots or 1/4 small onion, chopped roughly
1-1/2 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, spears coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cups chopped spinach leaves (about 3-1/2 oz.)
3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 peeled, pitted avocado
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp sour cream
6 oz. of crab meat or cooked shrimp (optional)
4 oz. caviar (optional, yet wonderful)
Step 1: Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and shallots or onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add asparagus and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 8 minutes.
Step 3: Add spinach, cover and simmer until wilted, about 4 minutes.
Step 4: Add the parsley. Purée the soup until smooth.
Step 5: Sift the soup into a large bowl, season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold about two hours or up to one day. Just before serving, mix the avocado, lemon juice and sour cream in a small bowl. (If using crab or shrimp, add it into the mix.) Be sure to taste the chilled soup; often chilled foods need additional salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and place a small bit of the avocado mixture in the centre. If you go for the caviar option, add a bit on top of the garnish.
See more recipes from Kathleen Flinn.
Reprinted with permission from Kathleen Flinn's The Kitchen Counter Cooking School (2011 Viking).