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Chef Peter Sherlock prepares Spring Asparagus Soup with Gnocchi and an Olive Oil Drizzle
Tags:Spring Asparagus Soup with Gnocchi recipe,cheflive,gnocchi,olive oil,peter sherlock,spring asparagus soup
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Asparagus is a great vegetable and obviously it’s green, right? The green color is called chlorophyl. It’s a chemical that’s in there. To keep it bright green like this, we blanched it. We took a pot of boiling water, a little bit of salt. Blanch it for about a minute and a half to remove all the bitterness because we want to make a soup. We want to make a great rich creamy soup but you don’t want to have it bitter, all right. So, what we’re going to do, we’re going to turn on the stove. We’re going to put a little bit of onions in there, Spanish onion, nothing fancy. We’re also going to take some butter.
Now, when you cook with butter, use a sweet butter. Don’t use a salted butter because salted butter, you can’t add anything into it. When you use a sweet butter, you can season it more the way you want it instead of taking somebody else’s palette and putting it in there, all right? So, let’s do this. We’re going to take about four tablespoons of butter. We’re going to let it melt in the pot. And then what we’re going to do, we’re going to take some onions. The onion is about a half of an onion. Now, I like to use nice small onions because they’re sweeter and that is richer, that is a tangent as a large onion. And so what we’re going to do at this point, we’re going to just let it sweat. You’re going to melt the butter. We’re going to take the sweetness out of the onion. We don’t want to caramelize it. So, we’re going to cook it real slow and extract that juice.
Now asparagus, what we’re going to do, we’re going to line up the asparagus from the head down. The beautiful flower, we’re going to reserve that later on for garnish, okay. So, it’s very simple. Just take the asparagus, line them all up. Make a one cut. Now, I’m not going to cut on a straight angle. I’m going to cut on bias so when you present it later on, it’s going to have a little bit of a nicer cut. Pick up them, get them on the side. Now, with this what we’re going to do, we’re going to roughly chop this about a half inch thick, okay?
Now with the knife, it’s a French knife, use it forward as designed for use, the natural rocking motion. Let the knife do the work for you. Now, if you’re struggling with the knife, the knife maybe sharp or maybe dull but you maybe not be using it as a rocking motion. So, now reserve this on the side.
Now for this recipe, it serves about 10 people. Reserve this on the side. As quickly, you just slice right through this. Put this on the side. So, in the pot, what we have—the butter is already melting. We already can see in there with the camera, all right. So, what we’re going to do is gently move it around just to coat all the onions in there. Now, we’re going to leave it alone, let it do what it’s got to do, okay. Let it naturally remove all the sugar and all the flavor in there without caramelizing it.
Okay. So, while that’s going, we got to make the potato and neonki. Potato and neonki is a great dish. Typically, everybody has it as an appetizer or part of an entree. We’re going to actually put that as a garnish inside the soup for a little bit of extra flavor, a little bit of extra texture, all right. So, what we’ve done, we’ve taken the potato. We’ve just diced it about a half an inch thick. Now, the reason why we diced it to be uniform, think about this. If you want to create a soup and have something, you know, cook a potato, if you want to make a mashed potato, dice the potato small. So, we’re all going to cook at the same amount of time. And if you make all of the potatoes the same size, the potato will cook at the identical time.
At this point, we’re going to take a little bit of pepper. Now, I like to use fresh ingredients. If you want to go at the store and buy cracked black pepper in a container of this line but you don’t know if it was grounded yesterday or 20 years ago. You don’t know and the strength is not going to be the same. So, what I always do is a fresh pepper mill and then grind it. Thank you. Move it around a little bit. I just want to help that along. We’re going to out in a pinch of salt in here. Okay, one more pinch. Add some more pinches. I’m going to leave this on the side.
So, we’re extracting all these natural sweetness in here. Now, if you notice the onions are starting to become a little bit translucent and you’re starting to smell the natural nuttiness of the butter. And that’s what you need to have. Let’s think about how we’re going to make this soup thick. We’re going to add a little bit of rice in the beginning, okay. So, we’re going to add about three ounces of rice. Now, rice is a natural starch and as it rehydrates, it’s going to absorb the flavor of the onions. It’s going to absorb the flavor of the asparagus and the chicken stock that we have, okay.
So, later on if this is all cooked, we’re actually going to puree it, and they’re going to be nice and smooth, nice and thick. Now, when you make a soup especially an asparagus soup, make sure it’s a soup consistency like a soft consistency. You don’t want to have it watery but you don’t want to have it like a glue, you can put it up on the ceiling and put wallpaper on. You don’t want that, all right. There’s a happy medium in there, okay. Now, when you work with the rice and if you notice a little bit, it’s already starting to absorb the oil and the onion flavor and the salt that’s in there. And it’s becoming translucent, okay.
Now at this point, I’m going to take this cut asparagus. I’m going to just put it in. We’re going to sauté this for about two to three minutes to get the asparagus nice and hot. Right there, the potatoes are cooking. It’s going to get all the flavor of the asparagus all in the rice and get it all happy with the onion flavor. You know what, let’s put a little bit more in there. I’m going to make sure we have enough soup. When you have a lot of people over, and you always want to control the portion going out, make sure you have enough. If you notice on this one, I reserved not even the tip of this one because I think we have enough, okay.
Now, what we’ve done yesterday, we actually made a homemade chicken stock, okay. Just take the chicken bones like when I’m at my house what I do I buy the whole chicken. I remove the breast. I remove the thigh. I remove the rings and the legs. I use the meat for what I want it cook it for. And I take the bones. I actually put them in freezer until I have enough bones that I fill a pot and then make a chicken stock for two-ounce.
What we’re going to do, we’re going to ladle some of hot stock on it, okay. One, two, three, four. That’s about 24 ounces. Each ladle is about six ounces. So, what we’re going to at this point, we’re going to turn up the heat. We’re going to let it boil. Let the asparagus cook. Now, these potatoes and they should be just about done. If you make them real small, they’re going to cook real fast for you.
Now, making neonki is just like making a mashed potato with the addition of an egg and flour. And a little bit of nutmeg. Now, nutmeg is great. It’s a little nut. What we do to make a great mashed potato in a smooth neonki. And we actually have a food mill. This is actually small food mill that I use in the kitchen. I have big ones that you can a hundred pounds of potatoes and give it a couple of turns and it goes through as mashed potato. All right it’s a great tool. You can use it for tomato sauce. You can use it for mashed potatoes. You can use it for whatever. What’s great about it, when you put the potato in, it actually turns the potato and gets it push under there and actually goes through the bottle. So, the potato always comes out nice and smooth. There’s no lumps in it, okay. So, it’s pretty interesting. So, what we’re going to of we’re going to take this potato. Turn off the water. As this is going to quickly drain this I’m going to put it right into here and give it a couple of turns and it’ll come right through.
Also, when you think about size of the potato, think about the thickness of this pusher plate on there. You don’t want to make it too big so if the potato gets stuck up on top then it just gets going around circles and circles in order to be able to come through. What I’m going to need is a small bowl. Now, the asparagus is going, that’s good. Now, what’s great about this, at this point I’m going to take this potato and gently pour it into the bowl. Get it all out. I’m done here for a moment. Now, it’s very simple, just hold it and just twist it through. Now, they didn’t come out yet? They start to come out, right. Turn it around and it will eventually go through. It snowy, we’re making snow. That’s Chef Live, they’re making snow. It’s hot snow though. You don’t want to be playing on this one. Look at that. All done. Nice, fine mashed potato. It looks like cheese. It kind of hot but it looks like cheese.
Now, let’s look—I love some nutmeg. Oh there it is. So, nutmeg is one of those ingredients. We only need a little bit that goes a long way. Now, when you use the grater or micro thing be careful. Pay attention to what you’re doing with the potato. When you work with the potato, get to work with a hot potato. Don’t ever let it cool because if you let it cool it actually gets more difficult to work with. Now, do you guys crack an egg this way or crack an egg this way? Both ways. Have you tried it this way? Actually cracks the calcium at one time and there is no pieces. You crack it on the edge of the bowl, it will actually shatters it more. You get more pieces that go inside. You always got to see it. Put a little salt in there, add one more. It’s getting all happy in there. Not happy with me but. A couple twists of a fresh pepper. Okay. Now remember this potato, make sure it’s very hot. So, we’re going to mix it, incorporate the egg as quick as you can, so you could try to prevent it from cooking on you, all right.
Now when you work with the potato, there’s something that’s inside, it’s called starch. It’s a gluten, which is actual protein of the starch. The more you work it, it actually develop the protein. The more you work it, the protein gets stronger, and it’s very stiff. All we have is just some all purpose flour, it’s going to fold it in. Okay, staring from the middle going up. Okay. Now we are creating a dough, so you have to be very careful, again, not to overwork it. It’s like a mashed potato, just with flour and egg in it, and of course great nutmeg. I’m going to add a little bit more flour because it’s a little bit wet. Okay.
Now, remember when you’re cooking, you’re always going to add, you never can take out, all right. So you add little by little until you reach the desired consistency of flavor that you would like to achieve. Now, the serve point, I’m going to use my hands because it’s going to be so stiff. It’s actually going to behave like a dough. It’s almost there. Okay. It’s starting to get stiff now.
There’s a word that we use in French called songe. It’s used to dust. Now, steak the dust to flour, dust to the board. Do it in an angle. Do that, all right. Because you have noodle pile and now you have a beautiful area to work with. Okay. So, I’m going to make some neonki now. Okay. A little bit of flour on my hand. I’m going to roll it like a piece of bread.
Okay. Now when you roll in the neonki, always remember to start from the middle and you work the way out. See that? If you apply too much pressure here, you’re going to have an onion form piece of neonki. Okay. Now, at this point, you can think about what size or thickness that you want to have. Okay. I like that size. Come back with a dull knife or spatula and then cut it, all right. Put it the size that you like, all right.
Now, remember in cooking, cooking is about being uniform. See that? What we do, we’re going to put into a bowl and take the bowl, we’re going to put into back into the refrigerator and let it sit. Okay. So, what we’ve done, we put that in the refrigerator. We need some of this more, so it’s already set and it’s ready to bake for us. That’s the dough that we made this morning. Okay. Isn’t that nice? Little potato dumplings. So, what we’re going to do is, we have to cook that still. Okay, we are on. Look at that.
Now, while we wait for the water to heat up, we’ll put a little bit seasoning in it. Again, even though the water here like in Las Vegas has great stuff in it, it doesn’t have enough salt for me. So, at this point, what we’re going to do. Well we heat up that water. We’re going to actually puree the soup. Okay. So we’re going to use a little hand held the emulsion blender, which is a great tool. Look at that. Isn’t that nice? It’s a great tool to have because it actually has two speeds, low and high. Now you have to be careful. When you use the machine, make sure you put it all the way in the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t splash so you don’t have to back up. It’s funny because people -- when they buy them, they have this as a great toy and actually start it going up. I’m not going to do it, it’s okay. I’m not going to do that to you. And they go all the way down and they hit the surface and of course, you know, it’s like Niagara Falls appears.
Now, use the machine going back and forth in a motion to ensure that this whole soup is all puree. Okay. The idea is you want to a nice thick soup. Now, when you’re working with a machine, always take the blade under the surface at the top even at that point it will splatter up. And it’s coming to a nice consistency because the rice is inside. The fibers of the asparagus are being broken down at this point. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to strain this. I’m going to strain it to another pot, bring it to a boil. We’re going to ad some cream to it. So, as you see the soup is getting nice and smooth as I’m pureeing it. Now, let’s move the machine around.
What we’re going to do, we’re going ton have a bit more sauce. I’m going to add a little bit of pepper. I like that. And give it a quick stir. Look at that. That’s beautiful. Then we’re going to add some heavy cream okay. Heavy cream is great. Now, we’re going to add about a cup. How about that much? At this point, we’re going to bring it back to a boil. I’m going to strain this. And remember, when you’re going to strain something, put a tray, a china cup or sift to remove the excess fiber but think about the pot that you’re going to put it back into because you want to re-cook it. Make sure that the vitamins are going to come out of here, it’s going to be the same vial, if not less than the pot that you’re going to transfer to. If you notice some poring on the back of the spoon, it actually helps it from splattering and burning because the soups are about 212 degrees. Always remember safety and caution is crucial.
Now, all this beautiful pulp that’s in here, use the spoon and you want to get all the soup out. Take the neonki and then drop it in. As soon as that boil is what we’re going to do, we’re going to add the extra virgin olive oil. We’re going to put a little bit of butter in it and then we are done. Okay, a little bit of oil. Take a little bit of butter, I mean a little bit okay. Now, remember when you put the butter at the end, always make sure that you’re constantly moving the soup because you don’t want the butter to separate. All right look at that. I’m going to put the asparagus back inside. Now, we want that, right? So, we’re going to put the soup in the plate and neonki is just about ready to be pulled from the water. So, always take the time to make sure that the portions are even, and then neonki in the middle. Okay. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. A little bit of pepper. It’s like a