5.13.2013

Asparagus Soup with Parmesan & Ham




Now that spring is here, the Germans are going crazy about two things: ice cream and asparagus. And who can blame them. The lines at the ice dealers (“Eisdealers” aka ice cream shops) literally wrap around the corner any given afternoon. As for asparagus, not only are the shelves of any respectable supermarket always stocked with both the white and green variety, other food items are adorned with pictures of asparagus to remind you that this wine and that ham pair ever so perfectly with the healthy stalks.
So after seeing asparagus in some form or another on the cover of just about every magazines at the grocery checkout lane, I decided it was time. Asparagus soup was in order. I was beyond pleased with the results. Not to mention it was a snap to make.
The other great thing about asparagus is that despite how low it is in calories (only 40 per cup), it’s packed with nutrition and a decent dose of fiber. It’s high in vitamin A (vision and skin and cellular health) and K (strong bones), potassium, folate and B vitamins. The rutin in it helps protect blood vessels and  the flavonoid quercetin has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.


Asparagus Soup with Parmesan & Ham

Serves 3-4    |    Total Time: 30 min.

Ingredients:
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Olive oil
500 grams green asparagus, tough bottom part removed (approx. 1-2 inches), stalks chopped into 11/2-inch pieces)
1 leek, white portion only, finely sliced
1 T. butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 ¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 cup white wine
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Zest and juice of half a lemon
¼ cup parmesan
¾ cup milk
½ cup plain yogurt
6 slices ham
Directions:

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1.  Drizzle oil into a large pot on medium heat and saut√© leek until it begins to become soft, about 2 minutes. Add in asparagus, saut√© about 2 minutes. Add in ½ cup of stock, cover and steam until soft. Remove lid and set aside asparagus tips for garnish. Add in wine and blend until smooth using immersion blender. 

2. In a smaller pan, melt butter on medium-low heat and add flour, salt and pepper. Whisk together and allow to bubble, but do not let the flour brown. Cook only 2 minutes before whisking in the 1 ¼ cup of broth. Increase heat and allow to come to boil. 

3.  Stir mixture into asparagus puree along with lemon juice, zest and parmesan. To prevent the diary from curdling, add milk and yogurt to the smaller pan, add a ladle of soup and mixing before pouring it back into the larger pot. 

4.  In a pan fry slices of ham until begin to brown. Serve with ham, asparagus tips, parmesan and yogurt.

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