Asparagus, the coveted vegetable of spring, is a great match for cheese. We often use the word "asparagus" to describe the natural, vegetal flavor of ripe bloomy rind cheeses and washed rind cheeses.
Asparagus Soup Recipe with Aged Sheep Milk Cheese
Cooking with Cheese Recipes
A full-flavored aged, dense, grassy (and grass-fed) sheep milk cheese makes this asparagus soup recipe a dynamic pairing and culinary experience.
1 bunch asparagus
3 – 4 smallish spring onions
4 red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 head garlic
3 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
4 ounces sheep cheese Vermont Shepherd's Queso Invierno (extra-aged sheep cheese), grated or sliced as seen in photo
Optional: 4 ounces crème fraîche for a topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wash asparagus and break off woody ends. If it’s very thick, or the skin is tough, peel it. Rinse the spring onions and pat dry. Cut off the base of a head of garlic (exposing each clove on the bottom), and place in a square of aluminum foil, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Fold up the sides tightly so the oil can’t leak out.
Spread the asparagus and onions out on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. Give everything a good shake to spread the oil and salt around. Place the packet of garlic somewhere on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, until the asparagus is soft and browned a bit on the outside.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft.
Remove the pan from the oven. Trim the root ends off of the onions and (carefully) open up the garlic packet to cool. Push the roasted garlic out of the papery skin. Add everything to a deep stock pot, including the potatoes. Pour in the broth, add a big pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Using either an immersion blender or a regular one, carefully puree the soup.
Taste to check salt and pepper levels, and adjust if necessary.
Serve the soup with blanched asparagus tips, a twist of white pepper, and maybe a chive blossom. Finish with a a generous handful of grated Queso Invierno or arrange triangle slices of the cheese next to the bowl for dipping and breaking (like bread).
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