Serves 4 to 6
This zesty yet delicate soup spotlights two culinary stars; tender fresh asparagus and succulent scallops. Try it on it’s own or as the prelude to an elegant Oriental meal.
6 cups of chicken stock or 3, 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
A scant pinch of Szechuan Pepper , or to taste
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 or 3 spears of fresh asparagus per person
1/2 pound large sea scallops
Pepper to taste
Put the first seven ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, trim the asparagus and cut into two inch chunks on the diagonal.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and stir-fry the asparagus to desired degree of doneness. A bit on the crisp side is preferable. They should still be bright green, not olive drab. Set aside. Wipe the skillet clean, and add a few more drops of oil and heat. Sauté the scallops until they are no longer translucent but opaque and just beginning to brown. Set aside with the asparagus. When ready to serve, place the asparagus and scallops in a serving bowl and strain the stock or broth into it. Stir in a bit of chopped fresh cilantro. Serve hot. A bit of sesame oil is a nice condiment.