Creamy Spring Onion Soup
Reprinted with permission from Bruce Moffett Cooks, A New England Chef in a New South Kitchen (The University of North Carolina Press, 2019).
Yield: 10–12 servings
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 large Vidalia onions, sliced
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 fresh bay leaves, divided
1 bunch thyme plus 4 sprigs, divided
3 cups cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 spring onion bulbs (or 1 large Vidalia onion),
sliced into 1-inch-thick rounds
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, woody ends removed
zest of 1/2 lemon
lemon-infused olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
In a large pot over medium heat, combine butter, onions, wine, salt, 1 bay leaf and 1 bunch thyme. Cover pot and cook over low heat, about 30 to 40 minutes. You want onions to be very soft. Stir onions occasionally, adding a little water if they start drying out. Avoid getting any color on onions. You want soup to be ivory white.
After onions have softened, remove herbs, add cream and stir. Working in batches, puree mixture in blender on high speed until smooth. Avoid filling blender more than halfway; this helps achieve a velvety texture (and prevents burns). Keep soup warm until ready to serve.
To make garnish, heat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add onions and herbs, and season with salt and pepper. When onions begin to take on some color, transfer them to oven and roast for 5 minutes. Flip onion rounds and return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until onions are tender and caramelized. Try to keep rounds intact for even cooking. Remove onions from skillet; discard herbs but keep skillet handy. Cut onion rounds into 4 equal wedges. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
Toss asparagus with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Using the same skillet, cook asparagus over high heat, turning frequently to char spears on all sides. Transfer asparagus to a cutting board and slice spears into 2-inch pieces on the bias. Add sliced asparagus and lemon zest to chopped onions and toss to combine.
To assemble, ladle 1–1/2 cups warm soup into each bowl and garnish with caramelized onions and asparagus. Finish with a drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil (or regular olive oil). Serve immediately.