Miss A Columnist

Sandy Axelrod is a Chef and has a Grand Diplome from “le Cordon Bleu” and more than 40 years experience in the kitchen. Sandy, her husband Steve and their son Brian have been living in Wellington, Florida for more than 28 years. She was owner & Executive Chef of Affairs to Remember Catering for almost 18 years with events such as the Grand Opening of Saks Fifth Avenue at the Gardens Mall, opening parties at The Mall at Wellington Green, SunFest, opening season at International Polo and assorted private parties throughout South Florida to her credit. She is also in “Who’s Who in America” acknowledging her expertise as a caterer and party planner. Now, in addition to writing a blog about food, restaurants, travel & life experiences at Food & Fond Memories,
and writing two cookbooks, she teaches private hands-on cooking classes.

Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Shortbread Coins

Creamy Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Shortbread Coins (Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod)

Creamy Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Shortbread Coins
(Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod)

Spring is definitely here. I know that because in the spring my Gumbo Limbo tree loses its leaves and grows new ones seemingly right before my eyes. I also know it’s Spring because gorgeous bright green slender asparagus are abundant at the market. I have lived in South Florida for thirty one years now and that is how I differentiate between the seasons.

I grew up in Philadelphia and my family’s lovely little ranch house was built on land that was originally a farm. We moved in when I was six years old and I still remember my mother’s frustration over the asparagus. We had beautiful landscaping with lush flower beds and fruit trees. The problem was that every Spring the asparagus from the old farm would grow back in the flower beds. My mom cooked them every which way to Sunday until they finally stopped growing. That was a very good thing because we had all grown quite sick of asparagus! Years and years passed before I actually craved those tasty spears again.

Nowadays I love to grill asparagus, roast asparagus, and shave them in salads. But my favorite preparation is creamy asparagus soup. That’s the dish that brings back those childhood memories the most.

Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Shortbread Coins                                                               From Food and Wine Magazine

 Shortbread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (6-oz)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 large egg yolks

Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

1.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour, cheese, thyme, lemon zest and salt. Add the butter and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until lightly moistened crumbs form. Gather the crumbs and knead to form a 2-inch-thick log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Slice the log 1/4 inch thick and arrange on the baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden around the edges; let cool on the sheets.

3.  In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes.

4.  Add the 1/4 cup of tarragon and the parsley. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, add the cream and peas; re-warm. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and garnish with tarragon and zest. Serve with the Parmesan coins. Makes six servings.

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