U2 is among my favorite bands and I was lucky enough to see them in concert once, be it over 11 years ago, during their 1997 PopMart tour. I was thrilled to get tickets and it was a great show--despite the steady rain, crowds packed Giant’s Stadium.
The concert’s set design was among U2’s most elaborate, complete with a huge LED screen, a 100-foot high golden arch, a 40-foot motorized lemon mirrorball and a 12-foot olive atop a 100-foot cocktail stick. The lemon mirrorball was created as a reference to U2’s “Lemon,” a track from their 1993 Zooropa album. To start the second half of the PopMart concert, the group walked out of their 40-foot citrus fruit to the tune of the “Lemon” Perfecto remix and onto the B-stage for an encore. The show ended with my favorite U2 song (my favorite song period, actually), “One.”
The Eat to the Beat event created by Elly of Elly Says Opa! inspired me to cook up this Asparagus and Dill Avgolemono (Egg Lemon Soup) to the beat of “Lemon.” I’ve always made avgolemono with chicken soup, giouvarlakia or the Greek fricassee, so this was a slight deviation but just as delicious. The flavorful combination of asparagus, leeks and celery finished off with a frothy egg-lemon mixture and the sweet somewhat licorice-like flavor of dill really made for a satisfying and fairly elegant soup.
Adapted from a recipe found in Gourmet
3 pounds asparagus
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, white part coarsely chopped and washed well
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups water
3 large eggs
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
Trim off ends of asparagus and using a vegetable peeler remove about 3 to 4 inches of the skin of each stalk, reserving both the ends and peels. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, reserving tips for garnish. In a saucepan combine the asparagus peels and trimmings with the chicken stock, bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow stock to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain stock and reserve.
In a pot of salted boiling water blanch the asparagus tips for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bright green and barely tender. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. When tips are chilled, drain and reserve.
In a large pot heat the olive oil over moderate heat and cook the leeks, onion and celery, seasoned with salt and pepper, until softened. Add the 1-inch asparagus pieces and stir to combine. Add the infused stock and water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until asparagus is tender. In a blender puree the soup, in batches, until smooth. Return pureed soup to large pot and let cool to lukewarm. In a heatproof bowl whisk together eggs and approximately 1/4 cup lemon juice, adding 1 cup of the lukewarm soup in a stream, while whisking constantly. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining soup. Cook the soup over moderately low heat without boiling, whisking constantly until thickened slightly. Whisk in minced dill, additional lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Serve soup hot or chilled, garnished with the asparagus tips.