Unfortunately, there have been years where the president has misinterpreted what Phil said, because Phil’s never wrong. Phil’s prediction is 100 percent correct, and we blame the variants on the president’s interpretation of Phil’s prediction. – retired groundhog handler Ron Ploucha from PennLive.
Punxsutawney Phil, ‘Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary’, predicts six weeks more of winter, despite edible evidence to the contrary. Defenders of his record are quick to remind us that Phil is correct 100 percent, it is the human interpretation that is inaccurate. Well, I am putting my trust into my stomach and eyes. I have seen the season’s first mache (lamb’s lettuce), flowering brassicas and fava tendrils at the farmer’s market; while morels, wild watercress, stinging nettles and miner’s lettuce are already appearing in the forests.
In 132 years of recorded history, the furry rodent Phil has only been right 68% of the time. If Phil is wrong, it means asparagus season is not far away. In preparation, I am sharing a quick and easy recipe for a favorite asparagus soup.
Asparagus Soup with Ricotta and Chives
A quick and easy springtime soup.
- olive oil for cooking
- 1 sweet onion sliced
- sea salt and black pepper
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 ounces baby spinach
- 5 ounces ricotta
- 1 ounce citrus flavored olive oil
- 1 tbsp. chopped chives
- 4 each asparagus spears
- freshly cracked black pepper
Saute onions in olive oil, season with a little salt and let cook for five minutes, stirring often.
Break off the woody bottom ends of asparagus and discard. Peel the lower half of the stalks, reserving four spears for garnishes, and finely chopping the rest.
Add chopped asparagus to the onion, and cook for a few minutes just to soften.
Pour in enough chicken stock just to cover the asparagus and onions. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is just cooked. You may need to add a little stock to keep asparagus covered.
Add the spinach to soup, and cook very briefly, just until it wilts.
Pour soup into a blender, and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Mix ricotta, chives and citrus oil together, season with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to serve, trim the 4 raw asparagus spears and cut lengthways into long, thin slices. Rub with citrus olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the hot soup between four bowls, and top each with a generous spoonful of the ricotta mixture, and garnish with ribbons of raw asparagus. Top the ricotta with a sprinkling of cracked pepper and chives, and an extra drizzle of citrus oil.
A very simple, cook and delicious soup designed to welcome spring back into our kitchens.