French in a Flash: Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté

RECIPE: Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté
Asparagus Velouté

Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté

In the dead of winter, I can feel just that: dead.  I let myself eat macaroni and cheese and carrot cake with wild abandon, and though comfort food may feed the soul, it doesn’t do much for the body.  Sunday night, after a weekend filled with steak and ale pies and bourbon, it was time to reboot.

A velouté is normally a thick sauce, or by association, soup.  It means “velvety.”  Thick, creamy, soft but substantial.  I find if you simmer sweet shallots, asparagus, and basil in just enough vegetable broth for two, and then whiz it up in a blender, you get that same velvety texture that you’ll find in much heavier, creamy, decadent soups, with a lot more vitamins and a lot fewer calories.  I add a couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche for tang and a little more body, but you could go without if you’re deeply virtuous.

I may have missed the start of the year to be good, but there’s always the start of the week.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté
serves 2

Asparagus VeloutéINGREDIENTS

  • 1 shy tablespoon olive oil or butter or a mixture of both
  • 1 extra large shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 large basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, plus extra for serving

PROCEDURE

Heat the butter or olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until soft and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often.  Add the asparagus and vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the asparagus is very tender: 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and add the basil and crème fraîche.  Purée until completely smooth.  Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of crème fraîche and a chiffonade of fresh basil.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Soup, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian

6 Responses to French in a Flash: Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté

  1. Richard K. says:

    Embarrassingly easy and amazingly delicious! (And if you use a stick blender to purée the soup right in the pot, you won’t have to worry about spraying hot soup all over the kitchen.)

    • Kerry says:

      Good tip! I’m currently without a stick blender, and you have encouraged me to buy a new one!

      I’m so glad you like the soup. It is easy, isn’t it?

  2. magickwrds says:

    Mmm. . . now I know what to do with all the asparagus I am seeing in the markets this month!

  3. Billy says:

    wow first time ever heard Asparagus recipe
    so what its taste like?

  4. Noe Casario says:

    Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour, diuretic properties, and more. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. Still in ancient times, it was known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus reserved the “Asparagus Fleet” for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action…

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