Last week I went to the store to pick up spring ingredients to get me in the mood for the new season. Although you can get asparagus all year round, in my mind, it screams spring and it was on the top of my grocery list. I had grand plans to make a vegetarian sandwich with roasted asparagus and goat cheese — however, I woke up the following morning with a horrible head cold and craved nothing but a comforting bowl of soup. That’s how this recipe was born. I made asparagus soup and served it alongside a simple grilled cheese sandwich.
The soup is rich, but light with a wonderful spring color, velvety texture, and fresh, grassy asparagus flavor. It pairs perfectly with a goat cheese grilled cheese sandwich. I’m not sure how asparagus and goat cheese came to be a flavor combination, but the two go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is to say, quite well. For the sandwich, I used goat cheese and a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese. I spread the outside of the bread in butter before cooking it in a skillet on the stove.
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of fat asparagus spears, root ends trimmed and discarded, sliced into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh spinach
2 heaping teaspoons mascarpone cheese, optional
- In a large stockpot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté 3 minutes more. Add the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to combine everything for 3 minutes.
- Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-18 minutes. The asparagus should be very tender.
- Add the spinach and season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until everything is well blended and combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Return the to the stove and reheat, if necessary, over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone, if using. Ladle into bowls and enjoy. Serve with goat cheese grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping.