Asparagus Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini and Fried Shallots
from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen by Chester Hastings
For the Soup:3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 lb medium asparagus spears
Salt and white pepper
5 cups best-quality chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1/2 cup heavy/double cream
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Crostini and Shallots:1/2 French baguette
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large shallots
6 oz fresh goat cheese
This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in The Cheesemonger's Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 75 Recipes
by Chester Hastings from Chronicle Books
To prepare the soup: In a 4-quart pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened and just starting to gild.
Trim the asparagus of any overly woody ends. Add to the onion and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the asparagus turns a brilliant green. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes,
Let the soup cool a bit before pureeing, either with a wand blender or in batches using a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Be careful pureeing if the soup is very hot.
Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in the cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and season with more salt and pepper.
To prepare the crostini and shallots: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the baguette into 1/8-in slices. Lay the slices out on a baking sheet/tray and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Remove and let cool.
Heat the remaining oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and fry, until deep golden brown and crunchy, about 2 minutes. Spread the goat cheese on the crostini.
Pour the hot soup into warm soup bowls and lay the crostini to float in the center of the soup. Place the caramelized shallots in the center of the goat cheese crostini and serve immediately.
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