Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wild Leek and Asparagus Vichyssoise

Ontario Wild Leeks or Ramps

Wild leeks, sometimes called ramp, is a wild onion native to North America. The wild plant of the lily family is much stronger to the taste than the cultivated leek – almost peppery. The whole plant can be eaten, either raw in a salad or cooked. A word to you foragers, only take what you can eat for yourself and for preserving, and please don’t take the root. Trimming the shoots alone is enough, and it is best to leave the bulb in the ground for another season’s growth. Forage where the plants are plentiful and only pick individual plants within bunches.

Store fresh asparagus with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel. Keep them wrapped in plastic and in the refrigerator.
When preparing fresh asparagus, snap off the butt end of each spear. Save those woody ends to make soup stock.
Not only is asparagus low calorie and fat free, it is also an excellent source of folacin, antioxidants, thiamin, and vitamin B6.

Wild Leek and Asparagus Vichyssoise

  • 2 pounds asparagus, tips reserved, stalks cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup wild leeks
  • ½  pound potatoes, peeled and cubed (preferably russet or Yukon Gold)
  • 3 cups strong vegetable stock (or more as needed)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

In a saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus tips until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain the asparagus tips in a colander and refresh under cold water. Pat dry, halve the tips lengthwise and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, potatoes and stock, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cream, salt and white pepper. Let the soup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.

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