Over time I have let just about all of my cooking magazines lapse.  The same dozen recipes kept coming back month after month with little variation.  And more and more recipes seem to be relying on processed, packaged or boxed ingredients.  We all know how much I love that stuff.  Riiiiiiight…….

A noticeable exception has been La Cucina Italiana.  It’s a fun read, and although I don’t make a lot of the recipes, they always inspire me and get me thinking outside the box.  Like the April issue that just arrived.

Thumbing through the magazine – actually, sitting on the couch getting rid of the blow-in cards – I saw a picture of a soup.  An Asparagus Soup.  With a fried egg floating in the center.  It was so unexpected.  It looked wonderful. I kept going back to it. I  knew I was immediately going to make it.  Or, at least a variation of it.  I was truly  mesmerized.

The magazine arrived yesterday.  Tonight I did my variation.

2 things about the magazine recipe; the soup itself seemed just a bit bland, and I thought a poached egg would work better than a fried egg.  As I said – they inspire me, I don’t necessarily make things the way they do.

So here’s what I did:

Asparagus Soup with Poached Eggs

  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into uniform pieces (reserve a few tips for garnish)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, poached

Saute leek and garlic in butter until soft.  Add asparagus, then broth, water, and nonfat milk.  Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until asparagus is tender.

Add lemon juice, salt and pepper.  (Soup will probably look like it is curdling.  Don’t worry.  It’s okay!)

Use an immersion blender and puree soup.  If you don’t have an immersion blender – go buy one – they’re cheap.  Or, puree in a blender – but do be careful.  Hot liquids and blenders cause explosions.

Mix in creme fraiche and check for seasoning.  Keep warm while poaching eggs.

Ladle soup into bowls and add poached egg.  Garnish with a few reserved asparagus spears, if desired.

This was just a totally unexpected treat.  I didn’t add any other herbs or spices because I wanted the asparagus flavor to come through.

I also made especially runny eggs because I figured they would continue cooking in the hot soup.  It was a good call.  Had I cooked them to a more normal doneness, they really would have been overcooked by the time we sat down.  I wanted the yolk to still be runny – not a golf ball.

It really worked well and I can see this with a lot of different soups.  More experimenting to come!