Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything.
- Lawrence Downes
This soup is a riff on Catherine's Creamy Asparagus Soup. I'm substituting vegetable broth for chicken stock, and roasting all of the asparagus instead of sauteeing. Theoretically, if you live in the northern hemisphere, I wouldn't recommend going out and buying asparagus at this time of year - because it's probably flown in from Chile, using up a lot of jet fuel - but if you happen to live in Florida and/or you happen to have a large amount languishing in your fridge, I'll let you off the hook...this time.
1 lb fresh asparagus, stalks snapped off and spears chopped
1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp olive oil
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, diced
1/4 cups diced shallot (about 1 large shallot)
pinch salt plus more to taste
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup half and half
Optional garnishes - use any or all (but personally I would not omit the pepper):
1 Tbsp fresh dill
2 Tbsp feta cheese
2 Tbsp shelled pistachios
fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
In a broiling pan, toss the chopped asparagus spears with half the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the oven is preheated, roast them for 8 minutes. When they are done, chop them into inch-long pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, the shallot, a pinch of salt and a few fresh grindings of pepper (be circumspect with the salt, as the garnish will add a fair bit of saltiness). Stir to coat. Sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium heat and add the roasted asparagus, cooking for 2 more minutes. The asparagus should be tender. Puree with an immersion blender (or stationary blender). Add the half and half, adjust seasonings if needed, and return to medium-low heat until warmed through.
Garnish with some chopped dill, crumbled feta cheese, and/or a few crushed pistachios, and add fresh ground black pepper to taste.