Asparagus Walnut Bisque
Chef Noah Zonca
Zonca’s Custom Catering and Private Dining
For this seasonal vegan soup, leeks, rice and walnuts are simmered in vegetable stock, with the rice and walnuts acting as thickeners. The mixture is then pureed with cooked fresh asparagus to create an eye-catching green soup that shouts “spring.”
1 large bunch asparagus (1-1¼ lb.)
1 leek, thoroughly washed
4 tbsp. butter
¼ cup Arborio rice
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 bottle (750 ml.) Chardonnay wine
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Microgreens and walnut pieces, optional
- Remove and discard any tough, woody ends from asparagus spears, then cut spears into 1-inch pieces. Fill large saucepan halfway with salted water; bring to a boil. Add asparagus and blanch about 4 minutes until just tender; drain well in a colander. Run cold water over asparagus to cool; set aside to drain.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice white and tender green parts of leek. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add sliced leeks; cover and cook gently about 5 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in rice, walnuts and wine; increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook until wine has reduced to about 1/2 cup and just barely covers the vegetables.
- Add vegetable stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes. Stir in cooked asparagus.
- Puree soup using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor, until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with microgreens and walnuts, if desired. (The soup may be made ahead and reheated.)
Photo courtesy of California Walnuts