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.
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.
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
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.