Pan-Roasted Asparagus Soup With Tarragon
Be extremely careful when puréeing hot soup. If time allows, it is safest to cool the soup before puréeing it. (Resting the cooking pan in a larger one filled with ice water is the most efficient way.) To reduce the chance of spattering, pulse the blender on and off a couple of times before leaving it on, and hold the top down.
* 1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus (if only thick spears are available, peel them first)
* 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
* 10 fresh tarragon leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 4 cups chicken or other stock
* Salt and pepper
* 1. Break off bottom part of each asparagus stalk, and discard. Coarsely chop the rest of stalks, leaving 12 or 16 of the flower ends whole. Put butter or oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. A minute later, add asparagus and tarragon, raise heat to high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Remove whole flower ends; set aside.
* 2. Add stock and some salt and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until asparagus is very tender, about 10 minutes. Cool at least a few minutes.
* 3. Pour soup into a blender, in batches if necessary, and carefully purée. Return to pan, and, over medium-low heat, reheat gently. When soup is hot, adjust seasoning. Put 3 or 4 asparagus flower ends in each of 4 bowls; ladle in soup, and serve.
Source: The New York Times
Dan's notes: pretty basic, good appetizer soup, I used fennel seeds instead of tarragon, and I guess they didn't hurt, but it'd probably be better if you could actually get tarragon. I mean, it wasn't really that good, it tasted very strongly like asparagus.