What’s For Dinner?
Portofino Bistro's Asparagus Gazpacho
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
2006 GOLDEN WHISK AWARDS
(Our top 10 recipes of the year)
From the menu of . . . Portofino Bistro
3199 Paces Ferry Place, Atlanta
Q: We dined at Portofino Bistro the other night and ordered the spectacular Asparagus Gazpacho. It was light and refreshing, with a nice kick. I wonder if chef DeWitt Rush would share the recipe?
JOHN LEESON, Sandy Springs
A: This cold summer soup is clever on two counts: First, it uses dark green leek tops -- the part of the leek that most other recipes tell you to discard or save for another use. Second, it is so simple to make that it hardly counts as cooking.
And it's easy enough to pack for a weekday lunch, but so beautiful and unusual you'll want to serve it at an elegant dinner party. Chef Rush suggests a garnish of fresh basil sliced in thin ribbons.
Hands on time: 10 minutes Total time: 10 minutes Serves: 6
1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends removed
1/2 pound leek tops (medium to dark green parts only), rinsed well
1 large green bell pepper, seeds and white membrane removed
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
until it turns very bright green, and then immediately shock it in ice-cold
water. In a blender or food processor (working in batches if necessary),
puree the asparagus, leek tops, bell pepper, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese
and water until the soup is well-combined and smooth --- or the desired
texture. Add the seasoned salt, sea salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar and
pulse to combine. Adjust seasonings and thickness as desired and chill
until serving time.
Mix in about half the vinegar, then taste the soup before adding more. It
should be tangy but not overwhelmed by the vinegar's acidity.
protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (3 grams
saturated), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 609 milligrams sodium.