Asparagus and Cilantro Soup
While looking for new ways to use asparagus, I came across a recipe for Asparagus and Cilantro soup in The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry, owner of the Real Food Daily vegan restaurants in Southern California. I have to say I would never have thought of paring asparagus and cilantro, so making this recipe was a bit of a leap of faith.
The resulting soup was quite superb-very light, fresh, and flavourful. I was fortunate to have my friend Vegan Knitting on hand to do a taste test with me. She made the excellent observation that it wasn't obviously an asparagus soup. After numerous tastes, I have to say one might guess it was tomatillo-based. The soup is thin and mild, and the cilantro is in no way overpowering.
You really have to try this one for yourself. The cookbook is wonderful and innovative - check it out!
Here's the recipe (adapted from The Real Food Daily Cookbook):
2 tbsp olive oil
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
pinch chopped oregano
1 tsp. cumin
6 cups vegetable stock (I used Trader Joe's Organic Vegetable Stock)
1 large bunch of asparagus
salt and pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic, herbs, cumin and cook 1 minute. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock, cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are softened. Prepare the asparagus by removing tough ends, cutting off the heads (save these), then slice into one inch pieces. Add the asparagus to the soup mix and cook for 5-10 minutes until the asparagus is tender. While asparagus is cooking, boil a tiny amount of water and parboil the asparagus heads for 1 minute to use as a garnish).
When the asparagus is softened, puree with a handheld immersion blender. Add the finely chopped cilantro, and season to taste. Serve.