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Julie's 'Spring Is Busting Out All Over' Soup
(recipe, Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson)
Each of us has a little clock of hope in our head. It starts ticking in the quiet depths of winter and reminds us that, although the scene outside may be still and solemn, the earth will soon awaken with spring's vivacious explosion of color. For me and my "soup sister" Julie, that mental metronome kicks in as soon as we hear rumors that the first stalks of asparagus are soon to arrive at the farmer's market.
In this soup, asparagus provides a feast not just for the mouth, but also for the eyes. Asparagus is one of my Super Sixteen longevity foods, in large part because it contains copious quantities of the powerful antioxidant glutathione. And since spring is the season when everything comes alive, it's only appropriate that this soup pairs asparagus with four other high-ranking longevity partners: garlic, thyme, mint, and yogurt.
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
- 1 Tbsp. finely diced shallot
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- 2 lb. asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, then cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 6 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, mint, or dill
- 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Organic plain yogurt, for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, for garnish
- Chive Oil (see Note, below), for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper, and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the leek and shallot and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme. Add the asparagus, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the peas. Pour in 1 cup of broth to deglaze the skillet, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the asparagus is just tender. Remove from the heat.
- Pour 1½ cups of the broth in a blender. Add one-third of the vegetable mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat and repeat the process two more times, using 3 cups of the remaining broth. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and the remaining ½ cup broth. Cook until just heated through. Taste; you may want to add a squeeze of lemon juice and a couple of pinches of salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of the mint, and a drizzle of Chive Oil.
Deglazing refers to adding liquid and scraping up bits of food stuck to the bottom of the skillet. (Those bits, which stick because of the food's natural sugars, are outrageously delicious!) Just add a little liquid (wine, broth, or water) and quickly move the food around with a spoon or spatula to loosen all of those flavorful bits of yum.
To make Chive Oil: Put 1/2 cup each fresh chives and extra-virgin olive oil, with a pinch of sea salt, in a blender and process until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.