In case you haven’t noticed, I’m really into soup this season. Ever since fall hit I’ve made one almost every week, and often make grilled cheese and boxed tomato soup for Friday night dinners. Besides its comfort food quality, one of the reasons I love soup so much is because of my immersion blender. If you love soup as much as I do, I highly recommend you invest in this amazing kitchen gadget.
It is entirely possible to ladle batch after batch of soup into a blender, but omitting this step from a recipe is so much easier. Plus, for those of us not blessed with dishwashers, it keeps everything in one pot. Before my husband gave me mine for Christmas last year, soup wasn’t exactly a hot menu item at our house. There are plenty of soups that don’t need to be pureed, like Tortilla Soup or the recently featured Mushroom-Barley Soup, but an immersion blender opens up a world of new possibilities.
I first pulled this recipe from a local California magazine long before I had an immersion blender. It sounded good, and I knew one day I’d get around to making it. And I’m so glad I did!
This soup knows how to be center stage. The contrast of pink, grilled shrimp against the silky sage green of the soup gives a beautiful presentation. When it comes to the marinade, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I used all of the ingredients, but less of each. I used a few spoonfuls of Dijon here, a clove of garlic here…
The consistency was medium: not too runny, but not as thick and hearty as say, Potato and Leek soup. It comes down to your personal preference. Next time I might experiment by adding some potato for added thickness.
The details are essential to this soup. Parmesan and a last drizzle of lemon add complexity, and the tangy shrimp a new texture. The recipe would feed 4-6 as a first course, but as a main dish, my husband and I ate it all.
Asparagus-Lemon Soup with Grilled Rosemary Shrimp
Recipe courtesy Chef Rick Manson, Central Coast Magazine (April 2007)
1/3 c Dijon mustard
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
8-10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the soup
2 c chopped yellow onions (about 2 large onions)
4 Tbsp butter
4 c chicken stock
1 lb asparagus
juice of one half lemon, or to taste
¼ c cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese
To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree for 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Pour the marinade into a glass or stainless-steel casserole. Place shrimp in the marinade, pushing down on them to make sure they are completely covered in the sauce. Marinate, refrigerated for at least one hour.
Melt butter in a large pot and simmer the onions until very soft and golden, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, trim the tips from the asparagus and reserve. Cut about 1 inch from the “butt” ends of the asparagus spears. Don’t try to remove all the tough parts, just the very woody ends. Chop spears into ½-inch pieces and drop into the boiling chicken stock. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until asparagus is very soft.
Ladle hot soup into a food processor or blender and process until soup is very smooth. Return puree to the pot. (Nicole note: I used an immersion blender.) Add the reserved asparagus tips and simmer until they are tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat grill pan to medium. Grill the marinated shrimp for 1- minutes per side until cooked through.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Place two grilled shrimp on each bowl. Garnich with freshly grated parmesan, chopped parsley, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.