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Spring Asparagus Soup with Crispy Proscuitto
from Chef Eric Di Stefano
of Geronimo in Santa Fe, New Mexico
(Serves 6)
1/2 cup unsalted butter   1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced   3 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots   8 cups water
1/2 cups chicken stock   2 tablespoons kosher salt
8 cups washed, coarsely chopped asparagus (incl. stems)   24 asparagus spears, peeled
1/2 cup shopped fresh Italian parsley   1 cup chicken stock
2 cups creme fraiche   Sea Salt to taste
  • In a large soup pot, over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add onion and shallots and saute about 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
  • Add chicken stock and simmer.
  • Add asparagus and parsley and cook for 5 minutes, until very tender, but still green.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove onion, shallots, asparagus and parsley and place in food processor or blender and puree in small batches.
  • Return the puree to the simmering stock and cook for 10 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Pass the soup through a fine strainer into a clean soup pot to extract the stringy asparagus stems.
  • Place pot over medium heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the soup reduces to desired consistency. Keep warm on low heat.
  • Place a saute pan over medium-high heat; when hot, lay slices of prosciutto in the pan. cook and turn about 1-2 minutes per side, until crisp, taking care not to burn them. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool for 5 minutes, then julienne and place on dry paper towel.
  • Pour water into a saucepan and add salt: bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until al dente. Using a slotted spoon or strainer transfer the asparagus to an ice-water bath for about a minute, until chilled, then drain.
  • Place saute pan over medium heat and add chicken stock. Add asparagus and simmer about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Whisk the creme fraiche and remaining 1/4 cup butter into soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stand the asparagus, spaced evenly apart, up against the inside of 6 soup bowls. Pour soup into bowl and garnish with prosciutto.

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