Cold Asparagus Soup with Grilled Watermelon

Cold Asparagus Soup with Grilled Watermelon Recipe

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I live for asparagus. I’ve grilled it, made risottos, meat dishes and more in the past. I’ve made soups before as well, but given that it’s still summer, I figured a cold asparagus soup would fit the bill.

I chose to cook with baby green asparagus spears because they're ultra tender and the color looks attractive. I kept the tips for a simple side dish of pan-fried fish fillets in butter and capers. The asparagus were grilled with olive oil so they were fragrant, then softened in vegetable broth until tender. I finished the soup by blending the asparagus with a little crème fraîche. The cold summer soup is refreshing, tasty, simple, yet very festive.

For a complete vegetarian presentation, I paired the soup with white balsamic grilled watermelon, which is in season. You could also add quail egg Niçoise salad or crab salad.

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Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1-½ pounds small asparagus spears
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
½ teaspoon coriander seeds, slightly toasted
2 sprigs tarragon
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ watermelon, cut into small wedges
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar


Directions

Preparing the asparagus:

Trim about 1 inch from the tip of the spears. Reserve tips for another recipe.

Brush the grill with olive oil. Lightly coat the asparagus using a silicone brush. Place the asparagus and tarragon sprigs on the grill. Cook until you get grill marks (about 2-3 minutes on each side) over medium heat. Do not overcook; it should be still tender and crisp. Chop the asparagus.

In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the asparagus and coriander seeds. Cover with vegetable stock. Bring to boil. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until tender, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.

Pour the asparagus in a blender. For a smoother flow, add the crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon curly parsley. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note: I used young asparagus spears so they weren't fibrous. I blended the vegetables until well combined. The soup can be prepared in advance.

Making white balsamic syrup: In a small saucepan, reduce the balsamic vinegar by bringing it to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes (it should reduce by half). Allow the thick syrup to cool to room temperature.

Grilling the watermelon: Make sure the watermelon is chilled. Pat dry the watermelon pieces with paper towels. Brush with olive oil. Place the watermelon on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until you get grill marks. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Assembly time:
  
Place the asparagus soup into chilled glasses. Garnish with asparagus spears (if used), coriander seeds and curly parsley. Finish with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Serve with the grilled watermelon on the side.

Bon appétit!

Cold Asparagus Soup Recipe with Picture


Tips

You could also top the soup with crab meat for a salty note.

Griled Watermelon Recipe with Picture
Doesn't grilled watermelon "steak" looks like tuna?

For a healthier version, you could replace the crème fraîche with milk.

You can use any other vegetables that are in season, such as green beans, squash or zucchini.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 30, 2011.


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