When I lived in Virginia, asparagus was one of the only locally fresh vegetables you could find in spring. This recipe is versatile: If you can't find nice asparagus, use broccoli to make cream of broccoli instead. As in a lot of my recipes, cashew cream stands in for dairy here and makes for an equally rich, delicious dish.
Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.
Add the asparagus, celery, and onion and sauté for 6 to 10 minutes, until the celery is just soft. Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the Cashew Cream and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high. Add the spinach to the last batch and continue blending until smooth. Pour the soup into a large bowl and stir to incorporate the spinach batch. Ladle into bowls. Garnish each bowl with microgreens and drops of Cashew Cream.
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes