Serve this as an easy and elegant springtime starter.

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus are incredibly refreshing in the heat of summer, and this soup is great hot for lunch or cold for a picnic at the beach.

makes 2

1.2 lbs. bunch asparagus

1 small onion peeled

1 clove

1 carrot peeled

8 oz. crème fraiche

2 tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of grated nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste

1. Rinse the asparagus, cut and discard the end of the spear. Remove the asparagus tip and reserve. Cut the stalk of each asparagus stalk into irregular pieces.

2. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a soup pot add the asparagus, the onion studded with a clove, and the peeled carrot, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until asparagus are really tender.

3. Bring a separate small pot to boil, add the asparagus tips and cook for approximately 4 minutes. Don’t overcook, watch the color, they should be bright green, and crunchy.

4. When the tips are ready, rinse immediately under cold running water and reserve. Separate onion and carrot from broth and discard.

5. Put the broth and cooked asparagus stalks in a blender and process until smooth.

6. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, then put it back in the soup pot and simmer.

7. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the processed stalks and slowly add the heavy cream.

8. Add the mixture to the soup and stir with a wooden spoon until the soup takes on the consistency of heavy cream.

9. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

10. Put the soup in a bowl or plate and garnish with two or three asparagus tips. Soup is good hot or cold depending of the weather.

Contributed by Nathalie Sann, author of Fresh From the Farm.

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