23 June 2008

{SOUPE FROIDE AUX ASPERGES BLANCHES ET A LA VANILLE} While I know that the asparagus season is officially coming to a close, I wanted to sneak in one last recipe, as there are still bunches of white asparagus appearing in our farmers market, and next spring is a full 365 days away!!

Do not be fooled by my images…. what looks like a sumptuous vanilla cream is actually CHILLED white asparagus soup with the added touch of vanilla bean. This was an intentional trompe l’oeil  (AKA fooling of the eye), which demonstartes my love of taking ingredients, typically used in sweet recipes and using them in savoury ones (& vice versa). The outcome is an awaking of the senses!

Our senses need a wake-up call from time to time, as we all find ourselves EATING THE SAME THING week in week out – does this sound at all familiar???  The problem is not a lack of ingredients or imagination, but more of falling into the cooking comfort zone….  and while I love my traditional asparagus soup, things needed to be shaken up a little – so I removed the onion, added the vanilla bean + white pepper and dropped the temperature to a cool summer chill.  

Besides, it really is too HOT to cook, & heating a saucepan for 10 minutes is my outside limit at the moment!


  • AKA spargel – the German name for asparagus (where most asparagus is white!)
  • Grown covered in soil to avoid photosynthesis preventing the shoots from turning green
  • This produces a less bitter, more tender, sweet taste
  • Season is from April to June


  • Name : derived from the Spanish vainilla meaning “little pod”
  • Vanilla is the fruit of an orchid flower, grown in the form of a bean pod
  • Originated in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Now grown in Madagascar (3/4 world’s supply), Tahiti : see Chocolate & Zuccini blog, Mexico…
  • Over 110 vanilla orchid varieties
  • 1 variety, vanilla planifolia (Bourbon vanilla), produces the majority of commerical vanilla beans
  • Hand harvested, rinsed, & rolled in blankets to “sweat”, then gently dried in the sun
  • Uses: INSIDE – of the bean is used to flavour cakes, ice cream, sweets, drinks etc. PODS – Keep & dry, placing them in a container of white sugar, to give a vanilla perfume. POWDER – finely grind the dried pod and use in cooking!

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  • 16 large white asparagus (approx 560g)
  • 2 medium sized potato (approx 140g)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vegetable stock (bouillon) cube (6g)
  • 400ml boiled water
  • 100ml full fat cream (25%)
  • 1/4 of an vanilla bean (use inside only)
  • pinch of white pepper¨


  1. Prepare the asparagus : wash with cold water, remove the flat end, peel 3/4 of the stalk (not the pointed end), cut into little 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces, set aside
  2. Peel the potato, cut into small pieces & set aside
  3. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan
  4. Add the asparagus & potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes
  5. Boil the water in a kettle
  6. In a separate container add the bouillon cube to the boiled water and mix well = stock
  7. Now add the stock to the asparagus / potatoes
  8. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes
  9. Using an electric blender (not a hand mixer – normally not powerful enough), mix the soup well.
  10. Add the cream & pinch of white pepper and mix well
  11. Cut the piece of vanilla bean. Next open the bean using a sharp knife, cutting a long silt lengthwise down the piece. Scrape out the inside on the bean and add to the soup mixing well
  12. Pour into a container and refrigerate for at least an hour or until completely chilled
  13. Serve chilled

11 Responses to “ASPARAGUS VANILLA BEAN SOUP Recipe”

  1. Kenneth Says:

    Sounds delicious, I’ve never actually seen white asparagus in the markets around here though, N.Y., I’ll have to keep my eyes open and search around a bit so i can try this white asparagus soup. Thanks for the recipe.

    P.s. Perfect for the summer.

  2. Kenneth : I will shortly post an image of white asparagus in case their are other people it has been hiding from in the farmers market 😉 It is wider than the green variety, with a sweeter more tender taste, which works well with the vanilla bean flavour. Hope you will find it in NY

  3. Laura Says:

    This looks delightful! I love asparagus.

  4. Jeena Says:

    Sounds wonderful, I have never heard of this but it sounds beautiful.

  5. Marjorie Says:

    When we were last in France, we tried white asparagus instead of the green variety and found that it was quite mild and we liked it very much. The thought of making a summer soup is quite intriguing and to incorporate vanilla bean really interests me – neat idea and very different! Don’t knows if I can find the white asparagus in Canada right now but will give it a try.

  6. oooo wow ~ how adventerous and delicious this sounds. i love unique falvor combo’s! maybe i’ll see if my market still has any white asparagus left…..

  7. chocolateshavings Says:

    That soup sounds great Erika ! If I can find some good asparagus I must try it soon.

  8. Katie Says:

    Beautiful photo! That sounds delicious. I will have to give it a try.

  9. Teresa Says:

    Thank you so much for the information on vanilla bean. I love learning facts like that. Your site is a great educational tool.

  10. I am just returning from a wonderful month of holiday – hence the lateness in my reply. I hope you all have been enjoying the summer.

    LAURA & JEENA : thanks for stopping by and leaving a note 🙂

    MARJORIE : while I love green asparagus, the white variety is ideal for this recipe, as it allows the flavour of the vanilla to come out.

    STUDIO WELLSPRINGS: hope you are well. I am always on the hunt for new tastes, but always with the idea of combining tastes that complement one another.

    CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS: looking forward to reading your latest blog posts, thanks for the note

    KATIE: glad you like the photo – it was not easy to shoot! Just saw that you have a post on granola. Over the holidays my father showed me a new recipe of his, where the granola is made with honey, oats, nuts and lots of lovely dried fruits

    TERESA: I have often cooked with vanilla bean without knowing its history. It adds always adds to my cooking experience and general enjoyment to have in-depth knowledge about the ingredients I cook with. Glad to pass along the information 🙂 Looking forward to discovering your blog.

  11. Aimee Says:

    Wow, this sounds like a most decadent and refreshing summer treat. I love the use of vanilla in savory dishes (like a hollandaise sauce) so this is right up my alley. You could invite me over for lunch and I would be a very happy guest!

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