It is week 9 of the Sunday Slow Soupers ~ a group of Slow Travel members cooking soup and blogging together every Sunday. This week's soup is Leek and Asparagus Soup with Fried Leeks and Crushed Amaretti selected by Palma of Palmabella's Passions.
I have been looking forward to this soup. I need something to remind me that Spring will come soon. And just in time the sun came out and it warmed up above 50 degrees. Maybe spring will be here soon.
I couldn't find any amaretti cookies here in North Seattle. I was surprised. I was certain that one of my favorite stores would have them. But I couldn't find them. Maybe I wasn't looking on the correct aisle. Anyway, I decided to substitute a few drops of amaretto instead which worked well. You have to be careful because Amaretto is very sweet so just use a small amount ~ 1/2 tsp. As Palma says - don't miss the toppings.
Leek and Asparagus Soup with Fried Leeks and Crushed Amaretti
This is a Roman dish, traditionally served at Easter time. The recipe is from A Cook’s Tour of Italy by Joe Famularo.
3-4 leeks, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 T. butter (or combination of 2 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs butter)
2 c. peeled, diced potatoes
1 bunch asparagus, tender parts only, cut into 1 “ pieces
1 ½ quarts chicken broth (6 cups) (I used vegetable broth instead)
seasalt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup half & half
butter or olive oil for frying leeks for garnish
4 Amaretti cookies, crumbled, or grated
*optional: 2-3 oz. chopped, cooked pancetta.
1. Cut leeks in half and wash well, separating the leaves with your fingers while running them under cool water to remove any sand. Drain the leeks and cut them crosswise into thin slices. Reserve about ¼ c. of leeks for frying.
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté leeks lightly. Add potato cubes and sauté about 4 minutes. Add asparagus, broth and some salt and pepper. If using pancetta, add it now. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Put mixture through a food mill, sieve, or use a blender or immersion blender. Return to saucepan and add half & half. Simmer until mixture is warmed.
To serve, heat some oil or butter in a small saucepan, and fry leeks until crisp. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, sprinkle with crumbled amaretti in the center, and top with some crisp leeks. (Or put a few drops (~1/2 tsp) of amaretto instead).