in our kitchen: roasted asparagus soup with spinach and sunflower cream + rye sourdough bread

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What’s more quintessential spring than asparagus? We paired it with another of its green veggie friends for a soup that delighted the tastebuds and the eyes. We also tried our hands at something new — sunflower cream.

We wouldn’t typically turn roasted asparagus into soup because it’s just too yummy on its own but we had an abundance of asparagus, as well as a lot of spinach, so we searched for a recipe with both and discovered this soup recipe. The hubs is on a sourdough kick, along with what seems like half the country, and the fresh rye loaf he baked was a perfect accompaniment for the earthiness of the soup.

spinach asparagus soup with lemon sunflower cream

Adapted from Naturally Ella
Total time: 50 minutes / Serves 2-ish (we had enough for one leftover)

The What

Roasted asparagus

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 medium shallot (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (sliced)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Soup

  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Toasted Sunflower Seeds (for serving)

Sunflower cream

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¾ cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

The How

  1. Cover sunflower seeds with water and let sit for 2 hours.
  2. Drain and place the sunflower seeds in a blender with the rest of the cream ingredients. Puree, adding more water as needed, until the cream is smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  4. Prepare the asparagus by bending toward the bottom until you find the spot where it naturally snaps. You can also chop about 1” from the bottom of the asparagus. Place in a roasting pan along with the sliced shallots, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Toss until everything is combined and well coated with the olive oil. Roast asparagus until tender. I find about 15 – 20 minutes usually does it. Set aside a few tips of the asparagus for topping.
  5. Heat the water/broth on the stovetop until warm. When asparagus is tender, combine with the spinach and 2 cups of the hot broth mixture in a blender. Puree until smooth, add more broth/water as needed to thin the soup. Set aside extra broth and pour the soup into the pot.
  6. Heat the soup over low until warm. Stir in the lemon juice and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the sunflower cream. Divide the soup into two bowls and top with an extra drizzle of sunflower cream, the asparagus tips, and a few toasted sunflower seeds.
  7. Enjoy!

artisan sourdough rye bread

Adapted from Breadtopia.com
Yields one loaf

The What

  • Water: 400 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Sourdough Starter: 70 grams, 1/3 cup
  • Rye Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Bread Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Molasses: 44 grams, 2 Tbs.
  • Fennel Seed: 8 grams, 1 Tbs.
  • Anise Seed: 2 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Caraway Seed: 3 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Salt: 12 grams, 1 3/4 tsp.
  • Zest of 1 Orange

The How

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the starter into the water. Add the molasses, all the seeds and orange zest.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flours and salt.
  3. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet using a dough whisk or spoon until the flour is well incorporated. Cover with plastic and let rest for 15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, mix again for a minute or two. Again let rest for 15 minutes and mix one more time as before. Now cover the bowl with plastic and let sit at room temperature for roughly 12-14 hours.
  4. After the long 12-14 hour proof, stretch and fold the dough and shape into boule or batard (round or oblong) shape for baking. (If you didn’t follow that, I’m afraid you’re doomed to watch the video.) Cover again with plastic and let rest 15 minutes before putting in a proofing basket for the final rise. If you don’t have a proofing basket, line a bowl with a well-floured kitchen towel and put the dough in there for the final rise. The final rise should last somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Keep the dough covered with plastic to prevent it from drying out.
  5. Preheat your oven to 475 F a half hour before baking.
  6. Score the dough with a razor or sharp serrated knife and bake until the internal temp is about 200 F.
  7. Let cool completely before eating.
  8. Enjoy!

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