Chef Sanford D’Amato
Good Stock Farm cooking school
Chef Sanford D’Amato, founder of the Good Stock Farm cooking school and former owner of award-winning Sanford restaurant in Milwaukee, cooks with the goal of infusing food with a sense of place. He now lives in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, and although the asparagus growing season is short in this western part of the state, he makes the most of it. For this creamy cold soup, he peels the bottom two inches of the asparagus stalks and uses the trim to make stock.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 celery ribs (6 ounces), cut in 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots (about 5 ounces), ends trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed for stock and sprigs reserved for soup
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
15 black peppercorns, crushed
2 lbs. asparagus, rinsed and trimmed of bottom 2 inches for stock, remainder reserved for soup
2 1/2 qt. water
Reserved asparagus spears
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion (12 ounces) or 2-3 medium spring onions, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery (about 6 ounces), washed and diced
1 leek (about 8 ounces) trimmed, cut in half on the bias, washed and dried
2 qt. prepared Asparagus Stock
1 (4-ounce) log plain, soft goat cheese
4 tbsp. mixed chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill and tarragon)
Reserved flat leaf parsley sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare stock: In large soup pot over medium heat, combine oil and remaining ingredients (except asparagus bottom trimmings and water). Cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes while stirring regularly, being careful not to brown.
2. Add water and bring to a simmer. Add asparagus bottom trimmings and let simmer, about 20 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and set aside. Or cool completely, cover and refrigerate.
3. Trim off top inch of asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes. Immediately shock in cold water; drain and reserve to garnish soup.
4. In large pot over medium-low heat, heat oil. Add onion, celery and leeks; cook, covered, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are translucent but not browned. Add stock; cover and cook about 15 minutes. Add asparagus and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes or until the asparagus are tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
5. Carefully puree soup in batches until smooth (do not fill the blender more than one-third full as you go). Strain each batch through a medium strainer into a bowl that is sitting in a larger bowl filled with ice water. After soup is pureed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cool soup quickly by vigorous stirring while still in ice bath. Cover and refrigerate.
7. When ready to serve, adjust seasoning and consistency as preferred (add more stock if a thinner soup is desired). Cut the goat cheese into 8 portions and roll each in chopped herbs to coat. Place one piece of cheese in center of each bowl and add the blanched asparagus spears on top. To finish, carefully ladle in soup.