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Cook The Issue #97

Asparagus Soup with Seared Scallops and Fried Leeks

Johns amazing soup styling and photography...

John's amazing soup styling and photography...

  • Johns amazing soup styling and photography...
  • Asparagus bouquet
  • Cooking is one of our favorite hobbies...watching the horses run at Del Mar is a close second!
  • Thanks Fine Cooking!  Im drooling in anticipation of the next issue...Diver
  • Good night from Coronado, CA.

By Denise Jones, member

February 23rd, 2009

This is our Grand Finale:  Asparagus Soup, garnished with fried leeks, a seared scallop, blanched asparagus tips, and a drizzle of white truffle oil.  We followed the Create Your Own Creamy Vegetable Soup formula, with a few minor changes.


We have participated in a few of Chef Martin Woesle’s Sunday cooking classes at Mille Fleur and recently learned his recipe for Green Asparagus Soup with Trout Mousse Timbale.  Before I made this soup tonight, I pulled out his recipe.  In order to retain the bright green color of green vegetable soups (asparagus, broccoli, spinach, watercress, etc.), he advises to cook the soup for a very short time.  If preparing the soup in advance, he advises to chill it in ice water right after it’s made, rather than keeping it warm on the stove for extended periods.  For this asparagus soup, I followed Chef Martin’s method of blanching the asparagus tips in salt water for about a minute and then chilling them in ice water (the tips are used as garnish).  After sautéing onions and leeks in butter, I added the asparagus stalks and a little flour.  I then added about half the chicken broth, brought that to a quick boil, and added the remaining chicken broth, and brought that to a boil.  I used a touch of white wine and a pinch of saffron.  I blended the soup in the blender, strained it through a fine sieve, returned it to the pan, and added the heavy cream and squeeze of lemon juice.  For garnish, I used fried leeks, a seared scallop, asparagus tips, and a few drops of white truffle oil.  It was delicious.


This Challenge has been the highlight of the past six weeks.  With so many cooking magazines, cook books and recipes available on various web sites, I often get overwhelmed with trying to decide what to cook next.  Although I peruse through Fine Cooking when it first arrives in the mail, I’m often guilty of tossing it into the “cooking magazine basket” and then forgetting about the recipes I wanted to try.  This Challenge was very educational and expanded our culinary horizons.  We really loved reading the Issue cover to cover, backwards and forwards, and taking our time in shopping, preparing, photographing, and commenting on each dish.  The best part of the Challenge has been the camaraderie and we appreciate all of the comments on our posts.  We are especially looking forward to getting together with Kaity and Steve, also in San Diego, and hope Sally and Stogie will fly out from Boston for dinner one of these days!


Our favorites of this Issue:  Buttermilk Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing, Roasted Potato and Mushroom Salad with Mascarpone, Pan-Roasted Chicken with Orange-Brandy Sauce, Orange & Brown Butter Tart. and Sautéed Escarole.  Not so much:  Red Cooked Tofu, Chicken Sauté, and Turkey Reuben.   I probably won’t tackle the three-day Croissants ever again, but I do love the Weekend Project feature.  We look forward to more challenging and gourmet recipes, but it's good to have a few traditional and Make-it-Tonight recipes.



Thank you Fine Cooking, and fellow chefs.  Until the next challenge,


Denise & John

Recipe Used: Asparagus Soup with Seared Scallops and Fried Leeks

posted in: Gallery, Cook the Issue Challenge, Cook the issue, Cook the Issue 97, Asparagus Soup
Comments (9)

legalcat writes: RheaS,
Thank you. I think it took me 5 days to complete the Croissants! I wanted to get them done on a Thursday night so I could bring them to work, but that didn't happen and then they lost their freshness by Monday. Unfortunately, because they are so fattening, I cut myself off after about two and most ended up wasted after all that hard work! Now I can really appreciate bakeries that make them fresh every day.

Posted: 4:34 pm on February 24th

RheaS writes: I enjoyed all your posts, especially the photos. Thank you for your challenge recap. I was also underwhelmed by the tofu and chicken saute. The croissants, if they get baked tonight, are going to be 4-day croissants! I'm hoping that not all the yeast has died yet. I'm struggling to get through the recipes due to my own time restraints, but I thought this was a great challenge. Posted: 2:52 pm on February 24th

legalcat writes: Sarah & Lisa,
Thank you. Again, we love Fine Cooking magazine and truly enjoyed this Challenge. Keep up the great work! Posted: 2:48 pm on February 23rd

legalcat writes: Pie,
Thank you. Looks like you also enjoyed a very colorful, soup-filled weekend! Love the color of your beet soup. John created a fabulous, and winning, Beet Crème brûlée for one of our Coronado Iron Chef competitions - hard to imagine, but it was so good...Cheers! Posted: 2:37 pm on February 23rd

legalcat writes: Jaclyne,
Thank you! I hope you'll be posting a photo of your asparagus soup with the parmesan custard - that sounds incredible. You should also add croissants to your bakery offerings (with your sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies)because yours for this challenge looked fabulous! Have a wonderful birthday. Denise Posted: 2:32 pm on February 23rd

jaclyne writes: Beautiful finish to a collection of great posts! I'll be making an asparagus soup with parmesan custard as an amuse bouche for my birthday coming up so I'll definitely use your tips and add the fried leeks for some texture. It looks amazing! Posted: 2:14 pm on February 23rd

Pielove writes: Congratulations Denise-- I really enjoyed your postings and John's photography!
Cheers, pie Posted: 10:41 am on February 23rd

LisaWaddle writes: Congratulations on making it through the issue! John, your photos are amazing! Posted: 10:17 am on February 23rd

sbreckenridge writes: Wow, what an impressive finale! The color and styling are just gorgeous. I'm glad you enjoyed the challenge. Posted: 8:51 am on February 23rd

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Update, March 6, 2009: This contest has now ended and we're tallying the results. The winner will be posted shortly. Feel free to continue to post your photos, though they will no longer be counted towards your total.

Over the course of two months, we’re challenging you to cook as many of the recipes in the February/March issue (issue 97) as you can, upload photos of what you make, and tell us what you love, what you don’t love, and what else you want to know.  Taking the challenge is easy. The most prolific member for this issue’s challenge will win a cookware shopping spree from, and fifty runners up will receive a copy of Fine Cooking’s Make it Tonight special issue.

For the complete contest rules, click here.