A little bit of cooking and a high-speed blender is all that’s required for this delicious soup. The mild flavours of asparagus mingled with fresh sweet peas, sautéed garlic, and a hint of mint and lemon bring a medley of savoury, sweet, aromatic, and fresh together in one bowl.
DIY lemon-infused olive oil
Don’t have lemon-flavoured olive oil on hand? Simply make your own. Thoroughly wash and scrub a lemon. Cut zest off in strips, avoiding white pith. Place in small saucepan with 1 cup (250 mL) extra-virgin olive oil. Heat gently just until simmering. Cool and strain oil into clean bottle. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 4 months.
Sautéed ramps, also known as wild leeks, make an ideal addition to this soup. Only available during a short window in the spring, these greens are the epitome of the season and are excellent in many dishes. Snap them up if you see them.
2 lbs (1 kg) fresh asparagus
1 bunch green onions, including tops
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed
2 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) shucked fresh peas, or frozen, thawed
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt or dairy substitute
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon-infused olive oil, plus extra
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) each of chopped fresh mint and cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim off 1 in (2.5 cm) asparagus tips from stalks, reserving a couple of whole asparagus spears for garnish. In large pot of boiling water, blanch tips for 30 seconds and plunge into bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Carefully drain and set aside.
Coarsely chop asparagus stalks and blanch in boiling water until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Trim root ends from green onions. Chop half the green onions. Reserve remaining trimmed onions.
In 8 cup (2 L) saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil. Add chopped green onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Do not brown. If using fresh peas, add and stir together until peas are softened and bright green. Add a splash more olive oil if needed. If using thawed frozen peas, sautéing is not necessary. Transfer mixture, along with fresh sautéed peas or thawed frozen peas, to a high-speed blender. Add cooked asparagus tips, stalks, and stock. Whirl at high speed until smooth. Whirl in yogurt until creamy.
Once smooth, return creamy mixture to clean saucepan. Gently heat, stirring until hot but not boiling. Cover and set aside.
In frying pan, heat lemon-infused olive oil. Add remaining green onions and season with salt. Stir-fry until soft and lightly golden in places. Shave 2 remaining whole asparagus spears lengthwise and add, stirring gently just until bright green.
To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls. Top each with a couple sautéed green onions and strips of sautéed asparagus. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh mint and cilantro and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a splash of extra lemon-infused olive oil if you wish.