Author Notes: With beautiful asparagus at the farmer’s market and fresh leek and fennel in my CSA box, I could not resist making a spring soup. Topped with a slightly peppery nasturtium bloom and a drizzle of earthy truffle oil, this soup reminds me of all the reasons I am happy it is spring.
Makes 1 quart
- 1 1/4 pounds asparagus, woody ends broken off
- 1 baby fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise (2 oz when trimmed)
- 2 baby leeks, trimmed, washed, thinly sliced (2 oz when trimmed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup vermouth (can substitute 3 T vodka)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1-2 tablespoons mascarpone
- Squeeze of a small Meyer lemon wedge
- Sea salt to taste, if desired
- Nasturtium blooms (optional, but recommended)
- Truffle oil (optional, but recommended)
- Trim off asparagus tips (about top 2 inches) and set aside. Slice remaining stems on the bias, in one inch pieces and place in a bowl.
- Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven. When foam subsides, add sliced leeks and fennel and cook, stirring, beginning to get soft and translucent. Add sliced asparagus and vermouth (or vodka), stir and cook for 30 seconds. Cover pot and cook for 3 minutes. Add reserved tips, cover and cook for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Add water and half-and-half to pot. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender. Puree mixture until smooth. Add mascarpone, starting with one tablespoon, and white wine vinegar and puree again. Taste to adjust seasonings adding an additional tablespoon of mascarpone if desired. Add squeeze of lemon, and sea salt if desired.
- Serve in bowls at warm, at room temperature or chilled. Top with nasturtium bloom and a drizzle of truffle oil if desired. Enjoy!