Friday, January 02, 2009

Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Custards (Page 97)


  • Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 -- 6:30pm
  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Kitchen: My Mother's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Terry, Teri, Spencer, and Ellen
  • Recipe Rating: B+

My immediate family celebrated Christmas a few days early and I chose this soup to make as part of that Christmas meal. I started by making the Parmesan custards. I infused cream and milk with grated Parmesan cheese, then added the cream to a mixture of eggs, egg yolks, salt, and pepper. I poured the custard into 2 oz ramekins, and baked them in a water bath until set. Meanwhile I cooked leeks, shallots, salt and pepper, then added asparagus, chicken stock, and water and boiled until the asparagus was tender. I pureed and seasoned the asparagus mixture. To serve, I inverted a custard into each bowl and then poured the asparagus soup around it and garnished with shaved Parmesan and blanched asparagus tips. This dish was pretty good. The custard had a lovely creamy texture and a good Parmesan flavor to it. It was definitely the highlight of the dish. The asparagus soup was only ok. It had very little depth of flavor. The recipe as written desperately needed some acid. We wanted to add some lemon juice, but since it wasn't in the recipe I hadn't bought any lemons. There was a lime in the fridge, so we added a bit of lime juice to the soup and that improved matters tremendously. You couldn't taste any lime flavor, but the acid gave the soup a better flavor profile. As written this recipe was decent but not great -- with additional acid it was pretty good. I think the custard part of the recipe was a keeper, but there are certainly better recipes out there for asparagus soup.

Here is the recipe.

This is the 900th recipe I have made from The Book! The Book has 1293 recipes total, so I have only 393 to go. For the first time, I really feel as though the end is in sight. With 900 recipes down and only 393 left to go, I am almost done! If all goes well, 393 recipes will take less than a year and a half! I really am in the home stretch.

I sometimes mention on this blog that I have a list of recipes generated by a random number generator. I try to cook at least one recipe off that list per week -- it forces me to choose recipes that I might otherwise put off. The other day I had made a recipe or two off the list, so I pulled up some random numbers on the computer to replenish my list with. I use the random number the computer generates as a page number, and add one of the recipes from that page to my list. I had to keep moving further and further down the page of random numbers though -- the first 15 or so that I got led me to pages where I had already cooked all the recipes. I still remember, not so long ago, when it was a big accomplishment to have finished all 2 or 3 recipes on one page of The Book, and now many, many of the pages are complete! I'm making progress!

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