Prep: 15 min l Total: 1hr 15 min l Serves 4
1 bunch pencil asparagus, (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces stale bread, crust removed, chopped into 1x1-inch cubes (ciabatta, country-style, or sourdough)
1 English cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
2 tablespoons HIdden Valley Ranch
1/4 cup Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Season lightly with salt. Cut asparagus spears, keeping 3-inch long tips. Cut remaining asparagus into ½-inch rounds. Cook the tips until bright green, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus tips to a large bowl. In a small bowl, set aside 10-12 tips for pickling. Cook the remaining asparagus stalks until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked asparagus to the large bowl with tips. Cover with 1 ½ cups cooking water and bring to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. In the small bowl with asparagus tips, combine ½ teaspoon kosher salt, sugar, lime juice, and parsley; mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min.
4. Place bread on a sheet tray, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Toast the bread lightly, about 5-8 minute. Set aside a small amount for garnish.
5. In a blender, combine the cucumber, asparagus tips, celery, garlic, sherry vinegar, bread, and 1 cup of reserved cooking water. Blend until smooth. Add Hidden Valley Ranch, oil olive, and season with salt and pepper. If necessary, add more water in ¼ cup increments until reaches the desired smoothness.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the Hidden Valley Ranch and sherry vinegar. Set aside.
7. Serve soup with toasted bread, ranch sauce, pickled asparagus tips, and freshly ground black pepper.
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