Tangy Asparagus-Ramp Soup
One of the most fascinating aspects of springtime in the Berkshires are the varied shades of green you see as our trees start blooming. The landscape looks like a study in delicate pointillism in the style of the impressionist painter Georges Seurat – absolutely gorgeous! Other harbingers of spring are when the wild ramps start popping up along the roadsides and the farmer’s markets stock local asparagus. Celebrate the colors and flavors of spring with my Tangy Asparagus-Ramp Soup!
2 pounds of asparagus, fibrous root end trimmed
1 pound of ramps, well rinsed (you may substitute a bunch of scallions)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
1 cup plain sheep yogurt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh mint, for garnishing
Slice the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. You’ll begin by blanching the asparagus in boiling water, then quickly shocking them in a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. Overly-cooked asparagus gets very mushy, so watch the timing very carefully.
If you want to set aside some asparagus tips as a garnish, only blanch them for 1 minute, then immediately put in ice water. When they have cooled down, set them aside on some paper towels until you are ready to serve.
For the rest of the asparagus, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to an ice-water bath until chilled, then drain. Transfer to a blender.
Slice the ramp bulbs and leaves into small pieces. In a small skillet, melt the butter then sauté the ramps until they are tender and lightly beginning to brown. Add the ramps to the blender.
Add the broth (or stock) to the blender and blend on high speed until very smooth. Add the sheep yogurt and pulse until well-blended.
With the blender running on low and the top plug removed, slowly pour in the olive oil, letting the soup emulsify and thicken. Add a little water (1 teaspoon at a time) if the soup seems too thick.
Strain the soup through a sieve/mesh strainer, pushing down with a spoon to push through as many solids as possible.
Transfer the soup to a saucepan and gently reheat until warm. If you saved some asparagus tips for a garnish, reheat them by sautéing them lightly in a little olive oil. Serve the soup with some asparagus tips on top and a sprinkle of thinly sliced mint.
The season for ramping is very short, so now’s the time to forage some for yourselves! If you’re interested in such an adventure, visit www.wildedible.com for more information.