Creamed Asparagus Soup

Serves 4 as an appetizer

This is a very old-fashioned recipe from Austria that takes full advantage of the delicate taste of the early spring asparagus. The original recipe asks for white asparagus, but you can certainly substitute with the more abundantly available green variety. The soup is light, yet creamy, and can serve as an appetizer course or light lunch.  The base of this soup is a butter and flour mixture that can be used to refine any vegetable soup such as broccoli, zucchini or fennel.

1 lb asparagus
1 small onion or a bunch of spring onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon of flour
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche or cream
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of chives for decoration

Take a large pot and fill it with 4 quarts of water.  Add salt and a little sugar to the water.  Heat water to a boil.
Peel, wash and slice the asparagus, add to the water, and cook over a low flame until done – about 20 minutes.
Remove the asparagus pieces, draining off the remaining water aside for use later.
Puree the asparagus with a hand-held mixer or blender.
Melt the butter in the pot, slowly add the flour and mix well. It will form a yellow paste.
Add the onions and then slowly add the reserved asparagus water mixing vigorously to avoid clumps.
Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the asparagus puree as well as the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Serve with a sprinkle of chopped chives.


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