White Asparagus Soup
3 quarts vegetable stock
1 1/2 pounds fresh white asparagus
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
7 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces flour
1 cup whipping cream
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil over high heat, and then lower to a simmer. Add the cane juice. Lay each asparagus spear on a cutting board and trim 1 inch from the bottom. Peel the spear starting one inch from the top and down the length of the spear. Save the peelings and the end pieces. Tie the spears together into 4 bundles using kitchen twine. Add the asparagus peels, trimmings, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 tablespoons butter and 1 ounce of lemon juice to the simmering stock.
Add the asparagus bundles and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are just tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove the bundles, drain and set aside to cool. Raise the heat on the stock to a low boil and reduce the volume by a third. Strain the stock, discard the trimmings and peelings and keep the stock warm.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to a saucepan and melt, add the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add asparagus stock 1 cup at a time, while whisking, until all is incorporated. Bring the soup to a low simmer, stirring often until thickened. Add cream and simmer for 2 more minutes. Season with Kosher salt and white pepper.
Cut the asparagus spears on the bias* into 1-inch pieces and add to the soup. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove the soup from the heat.
Ladle soup into 8 warm soup bowls and serve immediately.
*Epicurean TipBias Cut
A bias cut exposes more surface area of the vegetable, and therefore results in a shorter cooking time. In addition to speeding preparation, a bias cut creates a more elegant presentation than a typical straight cut.