"This was a pleasant break from my normal grilled asparagus."
Asparagus is made for the grill. Simply dressed or done up all fancy-like, you just can't go wrong when they're cooked over the flames. With spears coming at me at every turn this time of year, I'm always thinking of new things to do with them, which is why this recipe for asparagus soup caught my eye. Requiring five pounds of asparagus, it was the perfect recipe to jump one while prices were low.
Those tons of stalks were skewered and grilled alongside leeks, then given a whirl in a blender with some chicken stock. Warmed up and seasoned to taste, the soup was done.
Being so simple, each flavor—asparagus, leeks, and the stock—came through in every spoonful, but those spoonfuls were just kind of "blah." Luckily, there was a gremolata mixture of parsley, lemon zest, garlic and tarragon to come to rescue!
Even if the licorice-flavored tarragon was a little too strong for my liking—I would try thyme if I made this again—the gremolata added the dearly missing punch the soup itself initially lacked. All rounded out, this was a pleasant break from my normal grilled asparagus, even if a bunch of spears with a little oil, salt, and pepper cooked over a hot fire produces a superior end result too.
Grilled Asparagus Soup with Herb Gremolata
Adapted from Bon Appétit
- For the Gremolata:
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 5 pounds asparagus, washed, tough ends snapped off
- 3 large leeks, split, trimmed and cleaned
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Wood skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to use
- Type of fire: direct
- Grill heat: high
Mix all of the ingredients for the gremolata together in a small bowl and set aside.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. While the fire is lighting, Thread asparagus spears onto the skewers, with 1 skewer going through the bottom of the asparagus and the other going through the top. Brush the asparagus and leeks all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill the asparagus and leeks until well browned and completely soft, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for the asparagus and 5 to 10 minutes per side for the leeks. Remove from the grill and roughly chop.
Place 1/3 of the chopped asparagus and leeks in the bowl of a blender with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Puree until completely smooth. Pour out into a large pot and repeat twice with the remaining vegetables and stock. Warm soup over medium heat, thinning with 1/2 cup of a broth at a time, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with the gremolata and serve.