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.
1 1/4 pounds
asparagus, woody ends broken off
baby fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise (2 oz when trimmed)
baby leeks, trimmed, washed, thinly sliced (2 oz when trimmed)
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!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.