Asparagus Ramp Soup

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Asparagus + ramps = delicious soup.

There is nothing better than just picked asparagus.  No peeling needed when you get it fresh from the farm.

I was lucky this weekend to pick up some tender just picked asparagus from Door County farmer Mark Carlson.   I actually saw it picked from his fields.  For good measure, I also had him threw in some fresh rhubarb…..but that’s another recipe to share.

Today’s recipe is a delicious, simple asparagus and wild ramp soup.   It’s vegetarian and gluten-free.   The thickening comes from the addition of some Yukon potatoes that are diced and simmered with the soup.   

A trick to keep the bright green color is to quickly blanch the asparagus and ramps then plunge them into cold ice water to stop the cooking.   The color gets “locked” in.    The soup is only simmered for about 20 minutes then pureed so the color stays nice and vibrant.

I garnished the soup with a few blanched asparagus tips, a grilled ramp and a few early edible flowers.

For more asparagus, ramp and rhubarb recipes, check out my Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on Spring Produce.

Enjoy!

 

Asparagus Ramp Bisque
These two spring stalks make a great culinary marriage.  One of the best ways to blend their flavors is in soup.   The potatoes give the soup thickness without using flour.  Keep a few blanched asparagus tips for garnish.

Serves 6

ingredients

1 pound of asparagus
10 ramps,  cleaned, root and skin removed from tips
1 1/2 cups of Idaho or Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
4 to 5 cups vegetable stock 
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½  teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white pepper

 Instructions

Cut tips off of the asparagus.  Cut the remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces, discarding any woody pieces from the bottom of the asparagus.    Clean the ramps, removing the root and thin skin from the tip.   Chop bulbs and leaves into 2-inch pieces.

The asparagus and ramps are quickly blanched then placed in an ice water bath to retain the vegetables bright color.   Bring a 4-quart pot of water to a boil.      Blanch for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a strainer.   Cool with cold water then top with ice to quick cool.   Using the same water, blanch the ramps for 20 seconds.   Strain and cool in cold water and ice bath.  Discard blanching water.  Reserve several of the asparagus tips and keep for final soup garnish.

Place 4 cups of stock in a pot.  Add the chopped potatoes.     The potatoes should be covered with stock by about 2-inches.   If they are not, add additional stock as needed to cover.

Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the blanched asparagus and ramps and simmer for another 5 to 8 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.   Add the nutmeg, salt and white pepper.  If the vegetables are no longer covered with stock, add a little more to just cover.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or a high-speed blender.    During the pureeing process, add the yogurt or sour cream to the soup.  You can also puree the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender  Divide into soup bowls and garnish with the reserved asparagus tips. 

 

Posted in Soups & Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , ,

Spring Stalks!

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Asparagus, ramps and rhubarb.     Their appearance heralds the beginning of spring cooking.

Out with mounds of snow, icy sidewalks and bone-tingling temperatures.    In with warmer days (and evenings), chirping birds and budding trees.

 From the thawing tundra, the first produce of spring is making an appearance, almost begging to be picked and turned into one of the first recipes of a new season.

To help you get on your culinary way, try one of my spring recipes listed below.    If you want a little more help (and a lot of fun!) join me at a spring cooking class.     

Want to know about more classes and events?   Sign up for my e-list mailings and be the first to get my class schedule.   Fun food updates are posted on my Facebook page!     Looking for a book on using foraged ingredients?   Try the  cookbook Wild Table !

SPRING PRODUCE RECIPES……..

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Spring Salad of Shaved Asparagus, Beets and Goat Cheese
Recipe and how-to video

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Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry Shortcake with
Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

imagesRhubarb Upside Down Cake
Always delicious, get creative with your rhubarb placement to make this woven design!

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Asparagus Gruyere Puff Pastry Tart
Use pre-made puff pastry to make this spring tart recipes in a snap!

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Wild Halibut with Asparagus and Ramps
Fresh morels are also a great addition to this recipe!

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Ramp, Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Crepes
The crepes can be made ahead and stuffed right before finishing.

strawberryrhubarbtart1Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart with Streusel Topping
Make one large 9-inch tart or several individual tartlets.   Serve with homemade rhubarb ice cream if you like….recipe is above!

Arugula walnut pesto tossed in pasta

Ramp Pesto
Freeze the pesto in ice cube trays to use year-round!
A fast and easy way to make a pasta dish.

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Pickled Ramps
 Store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or can the pickled ramps for future use!  Great in salads and cocktails.

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Read more about asparagus and ramps in my Edible Door article….plus a few more recipes!

 

Posted in Desserts, Entrees, Holiday & Entertaining, sides, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , ,

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

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Tender spears of asparagus are lined up and placed on top of grated Gruyere cheese.   Use purchased puff pastry and this tart can be made fairly quickly for a terrific summer first course or luncheon entree.

Asparagus and Gruyere Puff Pastry Tart
Makes one tart serving 8

Approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to instructions on box
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds thin to medium asparagus spears, cleaned and dried

Approximately 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for sprinkling over final tart
Salt and white pepper pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface.   Roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges.   Use a ruler and a pizza cutter to create nice, straight lines on your puff pastry.

Lightly spray a baking sheet pan with non-stick food spray.   Place pastry on parchment paper lined baking sheet.   If the sheet pan has sides, use the reverse side to place the parchment paper and pastry.   This will make it easier to slide off the finished tart.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven.   Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt and white pepper.   Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Store-bought puff pastry works well in this savory tart; thaw it according to package instructions. Emmentaler or Fontina cheese can be substituted for the Gruyere.

 

Posted in Appetizers, Entrees, Recipes, Vegetarian | Tagged ,