This week's soup was chosen by Palma of Palmabella's Passions, so you know it has to be good! On our Slow Travel messageboard, Palma is known as the "hostess with the mostest" for putting on the annual ST GTG in Palm Desert, along with her co-host Brad.
The soup was very easy to prepare and tasted wonderful. But the toppings really made it outstanding - crushed amaretti cookies and crisp fried leeks. Next time I am going to add pancetta too, so that will add another flavor layer.
This is another keeper! But, ALL of our SSS soups have been keepers!
Leek and Asparagus Soup with Fried Leeks and Crushed Amaretti
Makes 4 servings.
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
2 c. peeled, diced potatoes
1 bunch asparagus, tender parts only, cut into 1 “ pieces
1 ½ quarts chicken broth (6 cups)
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. This is not part of the original recipe, but it DOES make Brad think this soup can be dinner!
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 emersion 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.
* Don't skip the toppings! They are wonderful with the soup!
Here are all of the ingredients, ready to go:
All the veggies are in the pot before they start simmering:
And the soup right before I gobbled it down: