I know it’s supposed to be Spring in NYC, but somehow it’s still biting cold outside. The forsythia are just starting to bloom. I was walking Remy in the park today and I was freezing!!! I couldn’t wait to get back inside and cook up something warm and comforting.
What better way to take us from winter to spring than with a beautiful soup. This asparagus-leek combo is one of my favorites and it can either be a casual weeknight meal or simply a great beginning for a more upscale dinner party. The secret to my dairy-free vegetable bisque is always cashew cream. Scroll down to the bottom for the full recipe.
Back when I studied cooking in the south of France, I worked for free in the kitchen of Moulin de Mougins. The charming 4-star restaurant was housed in a 16th century mill located in the inland French Riviera town of Mougins. I had never seen so many varieties of asparagus in my life. I even took a trip to an asparagus farm right near the restaurant where I learned, from start to finish, how to grow asparagus!
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 2 ½ cups filtered water
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Cover cashews with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours or overnight. The cashews are ready when they break apart when you press them together.
- Drain the cashews and add them to the Vitamix with 1/2 cup of water. Blend on high with salt for about 3 minutes or until it's completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the Vitamix and blend again for a minute.
- Use the cashew cream right away or store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Dairy-Free Asparagus and Leek Bisque
- 1 cup white and pale green part of leek, finely chopped and washed well
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 2 tablespoons dill, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup cashew cream
- 1 toasted baguette for dipping (optional)
- In a heavy duty medium pot heat the olive oil and then, cook the leek and garlic over moderately low heat, stirring, until the leek is softened. About 4 minutes.
- Add in asparagus, broth and 2 tablespoons dill. Simmer mixture, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until asparagus is very tender.
- Purée two-thirds of the mixture in the Vitamix or blender until it is very smooth.
- Stir the purée into the mixture remaining in the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve your soup with a garnish of dill a tablespoon of cashew cream.