Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
This Spring Asparagus Fennel Soup with Tarragon is such a delicious combination of flavors, the first spoonful, actually stunned me. The fennel and tarragon give the asparagus such an unusual, and unexpected twist. The soup is lightened up and made “creamy” with potatoes and a little sour cream, so it’s not overly rich, rather, just rich enough. The fennel oil elevates it to another level. It is not absolutely essential, but it is really tasty. I’m head over heals with this soup. I think you will be too.
I hope your holiday weekend is filled with joy and connectedness. Where ever you are, may you feel the love that surrounds you. Each opening blossom and every unfurling leaf is a testament to this. Let yourself be bathed in it and held by it. Each Spring, I feel this overwhelming thankfulness …that yes I get to witness the earth’s stunning rebirth, one more time. It truly is a gift, this being here, isn’t it?
Always remember when blending warm soup, to blend it in small batches, and cover with a kitchen towel and hold the lid down with all your might, when turning the blender on. Start with the lowest setting and increase speed gradually. This will help prevent a blender explosion.
When garnishing, play around with the design, just have fun and create. These purple sprouts are in Trader Joe’s “micro green mix” — I just pulled out the purple ones for a little pop of color. The white cream is just sour cream thinned out with a bit of water and a pinch of salt, and put in a squeeze bottle ( or use yogurt). The oil drizzle is a fennel infused oil, made with the fennel fronds ( recipe below). You can also just drizzle the soup with a bit of olive oil.
Asparagus Fennel Soup with Tarragon
Asparagus Fennel Soup with Tarragon ( makes 8 cups)
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 6
- Category: soup
- Cuisine: French
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic- rough chopped
- ½ pound yellow, yukon or white potatoes, sliced, skins OK
- 6 Cups water or veggie stock or blend of both
- 4 Cups chopped fresh asparagus ( approx 1 ½ lbs to start, then trim the tough ends off) plus a few “tips” for garnishing
- ¼ Cup fresh tarragon
- ½ Cup fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ C Sour cream ( don’t use non-fat, it needs a bit of fat.)
- Garnish: blanched asparagus tips, sour cream ( water it down and whisk to thin it –for better swirling) Fennel oil ( optional–see below, you can also use olive oil)
Optional Fennel oil:
- 1 ½ Cups fennel fronds, chopped
- 1 Cup Italian parsley
- ¾ cup grape seed or Light olive oil
- pinch salt
- In a large heavy bottom pot, saute onion and fennel in 2 T oil over medium high heat, for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium and continue cooking until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a couple more minutes, until garlic becomes fragrant. Add water or stock and sliced potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover, simmer on low 15-20 minutes until potatoes cooked through and are fork tender.
- Add asparagus, turn heat up and return to a boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Don’t over cook or you will loose the lovely color. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- In batches (see warning above) blend soup until creamy and very very smooth, adding in herbs. The herbs will give it this glorious color. Blend really well, so there are no specs of herbs but rather, let them tint the soup and make it very green.
- Return to the stove and heat gently. Whisk in ½ C Sour Cream. Do not let this soup boil, it will turn the color.
- As it heating …add the salt and pepper. The salt will actually bring this soup to life, so do not forget to add it. It’s like magic.
- TIP : If you are using any other substitute for sour cream ( cashew cream, or heavy cream) remember that sour cream has a good bit of tang, so you may need to add a one or two drops of lemon juice or white vinegar to balance the flavors. I have found that sour cream, has just the right balance of fat and acidity.
- Divide among bowls, garnish with a swirl of sour cream if you like, fennel oil, blanched asparagus tips, or fresh tarragon.
To make Fennel Oil :
- Place fennel fronds and parsley in a strainer, and dip in large pot of salted boiling water for 45 seconds to blanch. Remove and immediately cool in an ice water bath, to shock ( keeping it green)
- Drain, and squeeze dry with kitchen towels or paper towels to remove as much water as possible. Place in a blender, with just enough oil to cover, about ¾ Cup (or less is fine too), blend, adding a little more oil if necessary, to keep the blade turning. (Keep in mind, the less oil you use, the more flavorful this will be.) Blend for a full minute, until fairly smooth. Let this sit in the fridge, as long as possible, preferably overnight or even for a couple days. Strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Pour into a squeeze bottle. This keeps for a week or two in the fridge, or can be frozen.