17 July 2011

Heat Up the Kitchen With Farmers Market Asparagus Vichyssoise

Farmers Market Asparagus Vichyssoise

As seen on Honest Cooking....While Spring is when everything seems to come alive, summer is an all too swift reminder of lazy, hazy days of lying on the beach, grilling outdoors, and doing all that you can to prevent a heat induced coma. It is the season for the last of the Spring asparagus, the delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon filling the air to season your dishes.



In the summer the days are longer and the markets are bursting with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season that are gleaned from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes. I for one can’t resist enjoying more of the longer, warmer days with meals in the great outdoors. Instead of welcoming friends in from the cold, I relish ushering them outside for lingering dinners on the deck. Is it just me, or does everything taste better when eaten outside? Whether it's a camp site, your cottage, the beach or your own backyard, dining outside offers the perfect opportunity to entertain outdoors enhanced by mother nature.

I found myself with a glut of the seasons last spears of asparagus, some baby arugula and leeks. As you read this I am on vacation so what better time to clear the fridge of perishables and make room for the next season of fruits and vegetables than a few days before I left. There are many obvious advantages to cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients we find at our markets this time of year. The produce tastes richer, fresher, and is more nutritious. The beauty is in their pure simplicity. The standout flavours are the fresh, natural ingredients themselves such as the sweet taste of a carrot or the pop of a freshly shelled pea.

This recipe is loosely based on one from the Aerie Resort and Spa on Vancouver Island. The resort was a haven for those who enjoy fine wines and gourmet cuisine. We found creative menus inspired by fresh local ingredients mixed with a dash of incredible ocean views. The Aerie Resort and Spa is 1500 feet above the Pacific Ocean with spectacular 180-degree views of Victoria, Sannich Inlet, San Juan Islands and Washington State. This award-winning resort is a mixture, stirring majestic beauty and old world luxury in a place that inspires awe, and reverence for nature. And hey it's for sale for all you entrepreneurs out there!!!

There is no better way to enjoy the seasons bounty when the temperatures rise than with a delicious, simple chilled soup. This twist on a classic vichyssoise soup is perfect for an alfresco meal in the great outdoors. Your soup can be prepared in the cooling breezes of a summer morning, blitzed with a blender and served care free for supper that night without heating up the kitchen. You don't even have to eat it chilled if you don't want to, but do try it! Served hot, this leek and potato soup is known as asparagus potage parmentier. Served cold, it’s called asparagus vichyssoise. You can find out about the history of this soup here. This soup can be served in shot glasses as an appetizer. No matter how you choose to serve it, enjoy!!!!


A new segment...

Back to The Future

Over four years of blogging I have found many wonderful recipes to share on these pages. Some from my own kitchen, some from your creative blogs and web sites, and some from well known celebrities and chefs. I was feeling a little nostalgic and was browsing these very pages just the other day, creeping back to the very beginning in 2007 when More Than Burnt Toast was in it's infancy and  know more than "knee high to grasshopper". We all have those stellat recipes from when we first started when we were lucky enough to find one comment and have maybe one reader; in my case even before I was taking photos of the dishes I prepared.

So here are a couple of flashback recipes from the very first baby steps here at MTBT with Seafood Salmon Roulade with Lemon Tarragon Beurre Blanc. Can you believe my inspiration was Costco! I still love their stuffed salmon to this day. This is a little more time consuming to make but well worth the effort.

 My very first post was inspired by my trip to Greece. If you are lucky and can find zucchini flowers you will enjoy Aglaia Kremezi's "Kolokithanthi Gemisti, Tiganiti" (Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Feta and Mint), a recipe that also showed up on BlogHer thanks to Kalyn. Someone knew I was here and I am so appreciative!

** Asparagus Vichyssoise**
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped leeks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups asparagus (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • ¾ cup chopped peeled Yukon gold potato
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 sprig lemon thyme
  • ¼ cup creme fraiche or Greek extra-thick yogurt
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup baby spinach or baby arugula, stems removed if necessary
  • 4 asparagus spears, blanched and sliced diagonally
1. In saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped leeks and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add lemon zest, asparagus and potato; sauté for 1 minute more. Add stock and lemon thyme sprig. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are done. Remove thyme sprig and discard.

 2. In the bottom of a blender add 1 cup of spinach or arugula, 1/4 cup at a time. Add 1/4 cup spinach and 1 ladle of soup into blender and puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat the process until all of the soup is pureed. (Alternatively add spinach or arugula to pot on the stove and puree with immersion blender. Add spinach or arugula 1/4 cup at a time). Pass soup through a strainer. Stir in 1/4 cup creme fraiche or yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 3. Slice 4 asparagus spears on the diagonal. Thinly slice 1/2 cup arugula or spinach for garnish. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus tips for 1 minute. Drain and run under cold water to lock in the color.

 4. Garnish soup with asparagus tips and arugula or spinach. Serve hot or cold.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

20 comments:

  1. It is so fun to reminisce and look back on our posts. This recipe is one you will always look back on very fondly!

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  2. This looks so fresh and lovely! I am going to save this up until Spring comes around in Australia :)

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  3. Congrats on the 4 years! Like you, I also feel a little nostalgic when looking back at my oléder posts...

    That refined Vichyssoise must taste wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. This I've got to try. Love cold soups in the summer.
    Sam

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  5. absolutely delicious! Valli, Love asparagaus!! huggs, gloria
    Dont worry Vall Im OK for 20th. Gloria

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  6. So many of our favorite recipes were the first ones we posted, Val. Each of us ought to go back and see what we should repost! I'll check the links you posted today. Perhaps we should all have an "old recipe repeat" once a month. :)

    Love the idea of an asparagus vichyssoise and the fact that it's equally as good cold as hot.

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  7. Everything tastes better in the summer

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  8. Oh, we love asparagus and your vichyssoise sounds fantastic. It is on my must try list for sure and would make a great appetizer. The farmers markets are just opening here so this will be perfect to make. I will be looking at the sites you mentioned shortly. Have a great vacation!

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  9. Hi Val,

    I've rediscovered your blog after having lost the bookmark for a while (I used to tune in when you had your old site). I love the new look and recipes! So glad I 'found' you again! We just got back from a vacation in Nelson (really Proctor) on the lake, and absolutely love it up there. You are so lucky! Looking forward to following your blog again (love the photos and recipes).

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  10. Asparagus is the spring veggie I now miss the most and this vichyssoise sounds and looks so delicious!

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  11. Beautiful soup, Val! I agree, outdoor food always tastes so good. Maybe fresh air is some sort of seasoning.

    Costco has inspired me to try new things. Cheap big bags of lemons, flats of mangoes, and grapefruit have all ended up on the blog.

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  12. Oh to have a glut of asparagus! This would be a great way to use it.

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  13. That's a very creative take on Vichycoisse. You're going to need a bowl or two if this as it's very hot here (TO).

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  14. Hope you're having a wonderful vacation! This sounds like a wonderful, refreshing way to serve asparagus soup. It's so hot here right now so this sounds especially refreshing.

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  15. This post reminded me that I have not made a cold soup...even with this steaming weather we have been having. I think I will soon make a batch. Your version sound really delicious.

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  16. What an elegant soup and a great use of seasonal veggies. I love the idea of making it all in the blender :D
    *kisses* HH

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  17. I was just wishing for a good asparagus soup, Val!! Seeing this today made me smile. :-)

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  18. A nice combination of ingredients. I love the color of the soup.

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  19. I love asparagus with Hollandaise sauce!

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  20. I love the warmth of the kitchen I'm in southern Chile and this is used a lot, I love soups, great photos, every day I marvel over your blog, hugs

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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