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Creamy Asparagus Soup with Seared Scallops

At La Folie restaurant in San Francisco, the asparagus soup is garnished with a delicate scallop flan. In this simplified version, the soup is topped with a large seared sea scallop (as shown), or you can serve it with several small bay scallops. Chef Roland Passot recommends pouring your favorite Champagne alongside.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups firmly packed chopped spinach
  • 4 oz. fresh sea or bay scallops

Directions:

Snap off the tough stem ends from the asparagus spears and discard. Cut the tips off 4 of the spears into 2-inch lengths. Set the tips aside. Chop the remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the chopped asparagus and cook until bright green and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or long-handled strainer, transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When the asparagus is cool, drain and set aside.

In a heavy soup pot over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter is just hot, add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the cream and stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes more.

Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pass the soup through a chinois into a clean saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper. In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. When it is nearly smoking, add the scallops and cook until evenly browned and slightly translucent in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Divide the scallops among 2 warmed soup bowls.

Add the reserved asparagus tips to the sauté pan and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into the bowls, garnish with the asparagus tips and serve immediately.
Serves 2.
Roland Passot, Chef, La Folie, San Francisco