I’m technically still a gardening newbie. This will be my third year of growing herbs and vegetables on the back deck and I’m still learning as I go. Since I now get so many fruits and vegetables from my weekly CSA basket, I’ve decided to focus my attention on herbs and hot peppers this year. I never know when I’m going to need them for a recipe so being able to clip a jalapeño pepper or handful of thyme leaves right from my backyard is such a luxury.
I always have a ton of chives. When we first moved into the new house, I was so excited to begin my garden that I accidentally planted two sets of chives. It was a very me thing to do and I still fluctuate between being amused at myself and annoyed that I always have more chives than I know what to do with. They keep growing back after winter and I don’t have the heart to get rid of one of the plants. So… expect chives to show up in a lot of my summer recipes just as they did last year. Not a terrible thing, I suppose.
The first time I saw purple flowers blooming on my chives I was so confused. I had no idea that chives are a flowering herb. It turns out that many herbs grow flowers. I also have cute little buds appearing on my thyme and basil plants. But chive blossoms are special. They’re a gorgeous shade of purple, as you can see from the photos. Any they also have a delicate chive flavor that makes them a perfect garnish for any dish where chives are appropriate.
While I’ve used them to garnish this asparagus soup, I’m well aware that not everyone reading this has access to chive blossoms. Not a problem! Regular chopped chives will work perfectly well as a garnish on this soup. But if you have the blossoms, don’t let their beauty go to waste!
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 small clove garlic, smashed
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
- leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
- ¾ cup heavy cream or milk
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- crème fraîche
- chive blossoms (regular chives may be substituted)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast the asparagus for 35 minutes. Chop coarsely and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to a large dutch oven. Sweat the onions and celery over low heat with a pinch of salt until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic clove and asparagus and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the stock and thyme leaves. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a small vent. Cook the soup for 45-60 minutes (the longer, the better).
- Allow the soup to cool for 5-10 minutes and then ladle into a blender. Puree the soup until very smooth. The soup will have a bit of texture from the asparagus and can be pressed through a food mill if a smoother consistency is desired.
- Return the soup to the dutch oven and stir in the cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup in a small bowl with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chive blossoms (or regular chopped chives).