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Cream of Asparagus Soup With a Shrimp Garnish

Wine Guy Note: Don't let the Vitamix scare you off, Linda and I made it using a good food processor and a blender, it probably took a little longer, but it turned out great.

With Farmers’ Markets offering great local asparagus, it’s time to make some soup. This is a simple recipe that goes together fast. The secret weapon here is the Vitamix. The texture of the soup after the Vitamix is so silky it almost feels like you’ve already added the cream. I’ve dressed this soup up with a marinated shrimp centerpiece, but it’s delicious by itself, warm or chilled. - Mark Gapinski

Serves 4


For the Soup:
1/2 cup chopped shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter, if you wish)
1.25pounds very fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch segments
4 cups chicken bone broth (I like Golden Ladle brand)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup half and half
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and white pepper 

For the Shrimp Garnish:
12 raw medium-sized shrimp, shelled, cleaned and de-tailed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh chive, chopped

For the shrimp: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add the shrimp and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and dry the shrimp. When cool, cut each shrimp into 2-3 pieces. Wisk the olive oil and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Add the shrimp pieces and the chive. Stir to mix. Refrigerate. This can be done well before you make the soup, even the day before.

For the soup: Heat the oil (or melt the butter) in a large saucepan or your favorite soup pot. Add the shallot and cook until tender, but not browned. Add the chopped asparagus and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken bone broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the asparagus is tender, but still retains its bright green color, 10-15 minutes tops. Set aside two asparagus spears per serving for garnish. Ladle the soup into the Vitamix blender and puree for 2-3 minutes. You can also use a traditional blender or even a stick blender with some sacrifice of texture. Return the pureed soup to the pot under low heat. Whisk in the half and half and the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Serving: Arrange the shrimp in the center of a large, shallow bowl, about two shrimp per serving. Add the reserved asparagus spears to the arrangement. Gently pour the warm asparagus soup into the bowl, being careful not to disturb the centerpiece too much. Drizzle with some of the lemon olive oil in which the shrimp were marinated. Serve.

Wine pairing: Asparagus is notorious for wine pairing, but it’s really fairly simple. You should avoid both oak and tannin. I generally look for crisp, citrusy whites that have an herbal note. In this case, I chose the 2019 Sancerre “Les Boucauds” from Claude Riffault. An Italian Friulano, a Pinot Blanc or even an unoaked Chardonnay could have also worked well.