Recipe for chilled green curry coconut asparagus soup
Fran Lebowitz -- essayist, humorist, and social commentator -- once quipped, "Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier, he could have gotten it while it was still hot." If you're in the camp that doesn't love cold soup, this recipe for green curry coconut asparagus soup just might change your mind. It's creamy, spicy, tangy and green, vegan and gluten-free, too. I learned a few years ago that you can freeze freshly-picked asparagus spears; they'll lose some texture but will retain all of their peak flavor. Use those frozen spears in this soup on a hot summer day.
Chilled green curry coconut asparagus soup
20 medium asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces, tips reserved
12 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp Thai green curry paste (or more, to taste; I use 1 tsp)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Place the asparagus pieces (not the tips) in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the asparagus is very soft.
Remove the asparagus to the work bowl of a food processor. Add the asparagus tips to the cooking liquid, and let them blanch (no need to turn on the heat).
Add to the food processor the coconut milk, curry paste and lime juice. Process until smooth. To thin the soup (if it needs thinning, which it usually doesn't), add a bit of the asparagus cooking water. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the soup into a container, and chill. Drain the asparagus tips, run them under cold water to set the color, and dry them. Chill the tips separately. You can make the soup a day ahead; before serving, taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt, pepper, and lime juice.
Serve cold, garnished with asparagus tips.