Wine Culture Magazine

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This rich soup by chef Chris Van Hooydonk at Backyard Farm makes the most of the freshest flavours of spring, notably the asparagus that is in season right now. He suggests paring it with Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner, and likes to top it with foraged morel mushrooms. “A benefit of the wildfires last year will be the upcoming local fire morel harvest. I like to use them everywhere,” he says. The morel mushroom garnish is optional and could also be used as a side dish.

Serves 4

• 2 lb. wild or farm-fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (set tips aside for garnish)

• Kosher salt as needed

• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

• ½ medium onion, diced

• 1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced

• 1 celery stalk, washed and sliced

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• ¼ cup white wine

• 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

• 1/2 cups heavy cream

• Zest of ½ a lemon

• Optional garnish: Freshly chopped chives, fresh sorrel or Foraged Morel Mushrooms and Wilted Baby Leaf Greens (recipe follows)

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and 1 Tbsp salt to a simmer. Add asparagus tips, return to a simmer, and when they are bright green remove immediately from water. Plunge them in ice water and set aside for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, melt butter and add onion, leek, celery and asparagus stems. Sauté for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic. Reduce heat and continue cooking until onions are translucent.

Deglaze with white wine and cook until pan is almost dry. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Add zest of lemon.

Purée with a blender and strain. Return to heat and season with kosher salt as desired.

Divide velouté between four bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips, chopped herbs and/or morels and wilted greens.


Foraged Morel Mushrooms and Wilted Baby Leaf Greens

Serves 4

• 3 Tbsp olive oil

• ½ white onion, cut into small dice

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 2 cups morel mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

• ½ lb. “wilting” greens such as arugula, kale, swiss chard or beet greens, washed and de-stemmed

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 4 sage leaves, finely sliced

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently. Once mushrooms have released their liquor, and the pan is almost dry, add greens in three stages, not overloading pan, and cook just until wilted.

Season with salt, pepper and sage once greens are wilted. Serve as desired.

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