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Cook This Tonight: Thai-Inspired Asparagus Soup

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
April 7, 2014

You want to cook tonight. You want it to be easy. With Cook This Tonight, we solve that problem for you.

Photo credit: James Ransom, Food52

Tennyson famously wrote that “in the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” 

For some of us, however, ‘tis the season our fancies turn—obsessively—to seasonal produce. The farmer’s market starts glowing with tulips and ramps, morels, and asparagus. Our instinct is to scoop everything into a bag, head home, plop the tulips in a vase, toss together lots of salads, and sit on the couch crunching on spring carrots.

These are all lovely ideas. But don’t totally kick that winter staple—soup—to the curb just yet. 

This asparagus soup is just as appropriate for Meatless Monday self-sustenance as it is for entertaining. It’s fortified with classic Thai aromatics (lemongrass, coconut milk, and ginger), spiced with black pepper, and amped up with a spritz of acidity from lemon juice.

Serve this simply, with shrimp cocktail on the side, dolloped with fresh yogurt or crème fraîche, or alongside a hunk of baguette and young, bright goat cheese (a classic partner for the veg).

Thai-Inspired Asparagus Soup
From Food52

1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil
3 pounds asparagus (after trimming an inch off the stalk)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 cups coconut milk
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons finely minced lemongrass
3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Cut asparagus into ½ inch pieces.
2. Cook onion in 3 tablespoons butter or oil in a 6-8 quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add lemongrass and ginger and continue cooking until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.
4. Add asparagus pieces, salt and pepper, then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
5. Add coconut milk and 5 cups of broth. Simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Puree soup in batches in a blender or with a immersion blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl after blending if using a blender since you will need to do it in several batches (use caution when blending hot liquids) and return to pot. If the soup is too thick, add up to another cup of broth, and cook for about five minutes, or until the soup is warm.
7. Add lemon juice, and serve with a garnish of chives or cilantro. (Soup may be prepared a day in advance. If making ahead, add the lemon juice after reheating.)