We always have a barrel tasting event at the winery right before the summer season hits and smack dab in the middle of asparagus season; I have been making this soup for years. My favorite part of this recipe is every time I order the asparagus for the event I get in a friendly argument with my produce guy about if I really need eighty pounds of asparagus. Well, when you are cooking for the amount of folks I do … yes eighty pounds does disappear … trust me you don’t want to know how much butter and cream I order for those big batches. Luckily with this smaller version of the recipe you only need about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds of asparagus.
I should warn you if you don’t boil the lemon and thyme in a stainless steel pot and instead use a pot with aluminum the lemon juice will turn your water bright pink and will freak out the most timid of cooks. You don’t have to go out and buy a new pot, I’m just warning you that if the water is pink it’s okay; just a chemical reaction. Science is fun!
What the heck is blanching?http://auntmomos.com/what-the-heck-is-blanching/ One reason why we are blanching the asparagus in the lemon-thyme water is to get the flavor of both into the asparagus spears. Though the main reason is by blanching the asparagus I can then safely add the cream to the asparagus soup later and know the lemon isn’t going to curdle the cream. See … I told you science is fun!
If you want to substitute vegetable broth instead of chicken broth it really works well too. During the event I don’t save the asparagus tips for decorating the top of the soup; I usually use chopped up watercress and fried onions as a topper. Watercress has a flavor between horseradish and a radish. Our winemaker Michael likes to eat this soup’s leftovers the next day chilled … he says it’s refreshing, and still has good flavors.
Cream of asparagus soup with lemon and thyme