This past week marked the start of our very first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) summer farm share. I’ve been wanting to sign up for a CSA for years – I love the idea of supporting a local farm and getting fresh, seasonal produce straight from the source. We found a farm this year with a convenient pickup location and signed right up for a share of their summer crops.
From June through November, we’ll receive a box of fresh fruits and vegetables from Enterprise Farm, one of the longest-running certified organic farms in Massachusetts. I’m giddy just thinking about it.
Garlic scapes are thick-stemmed curlicues that grow from the root of a hard-necked variety of garlic. They are the shoots of the garlic bulb, harvested in spring and early summer so they don’t drain all the nutrients and flavor from the garlic bulb, which will be dug up later in the season.
I’ll eat soup any time of year – cold weather or not. There’s something about curling up with a bowl of soup and a good book, even on a warm summer evening, that makes my heart feel full with the essence of “home.”
Even though it’s just CJ and myself in our new house, I typically make a big pot of soup that serves 8-10 to feed us during the week and to have on hand in the freezer. It helps that I also adore leftovers.
I paired the farm fresh garlic scapes with a pound of green asparagus for this creamy, yet light, summertime soup.
Because it’s officially summer, I grilled the asparagus and scapes with olive oil, salt, and pepper then blended in vegetable broth simmered with bay leaf and a hint of red pepper flakes.
Alternatively, you can sauté the scapes and asparagus instead of grilling. But if you have a grill, I recommend uncorking a bottle of wine and firing it up.
The garlic scapes balance the bright, yet subtly earthy asparagus with a garlicky sweetness. The red pepper flakes add a layer of heat and zing, and the sweetness of the maple caramelized shallots finish off the soup with a deep richness that doesn’t overpower the other flavors.
As a vegetarian option, you can add a swirl of crème fraîche. Crispy, garlic croutons would make a tasty garnish as well.
The soup is silky smooth, but still has texture from the heartiness of the grilled asparagus and scapes. Each ladle filled with the warmth and green of summer.
I would love to hear from you. Are you participating in a CSA summer farm share this year? What is your favorite summertime vegetable?
- 1 lb fresh asparagus, washed, ends trimmed, cut into 1" long pieces
- ½ lb fresh garlic scapes, washed and cut into 1" long pieces
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or less, per preference)
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp real maple syrup
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the grill on high for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over asparagus and garlic scapes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss until coated.
- Place the asparagus and garlic scapes in a grilling veggie basket (or, grill whole and slice into 1" pieces afterward). Place the veggie basket in the center of the grill, then close the grill lid. Cook for about 20 minutes, tossing
occasionally,until the vegetables are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- While the vegetables are grilling, combine the vegetable broth, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer until the vegetables are done
- In a medium saute pan, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the thinly sliced shallots and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and begin to turn golden brown. Stir in the maple syrup and cook for
an additional 2-3 minutes, until brown and caramelized.
- When the vegetables are done
grilling, add them to the stock potof broth. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove pot from heat. Remove bay leaf from the broth and discard.
- With an immersion blender - or with a regular blender working in batches - blend the soup until it's smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide soup into large bowls and top with a spoonful of caramelized shallots. Serve immediately.