This gentle green soup delivers clean asparagus and pea flavors with a tangy back note. A piece of sandwich bread (use any kind you have, crust and all) thickens the soup in its final moments....
- Trim stems off chokes so they stand securely on their bottoms. Cut ¾ inch off the top of each thistle and remove any tough bottom leaves.
- Under cold running water, force the leaves apart and cut out the small sharp-edged leaves and prickly choke in the center with a grapefruit knife or paring knife. Press the leaves back together.
- Put 2 inches of boiling water in a pan with a vegetable steamer; add salt, pepper, garlic, vegetable oil and lemon juice. Place artichokes top down in the pan. Cover and steam for 30–40 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Remove leaves and set aside. The remaining leaves can be served chilled with a favorite sauce.
- Purée artichoke hearts, adding chicken stock to blender. Bring stock and diced onion to boil and simmer 5 minutes.
- Stir in cream and thoroughly warm soup (but do not boil). Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with julienned artichoke leaves.