My father worked as an Executive Chef at a small Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA for many years. Over time he developed many, many soup recipes. There were lots of locals who skipped the pizza and pasta and always ordered the soup of the day. Asparagus was one of the crowd favorites. I made it this week because my fabulous husband has to have gum surgery and I’m getting ready to feed him soft foods for a few days. He’s usually salad obsessed, but that won’t be an option. This soup delivers a massive green vegetable punch without a single chew involved.
Cream of Asparagus Soup (serves eight)
- 2 lbs green asparagus
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (canola oil will work too)
- 3 tablespoons best quality butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 small or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 4 leeks washed carefully, white parts only, coarsely chopped
- 5 to 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth of you prefer a vegetarian version of the soup)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Cut tips from 12 asparagus spears 1½ inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish.
Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
Cook onion, shallots and leeks in 2 tablespoons of the butter and the grapeseed oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. This will take 12-15 minutes. Add asparagus pieces, salt and pepper then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add 5 of the cups of broth and simmer, covered, until the asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
While soup simmers, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain.
Purée the soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring it to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids), and once the soup is all processed, return it to the pan. Stir in crème fraîche or cream, add more broth to thin the soup to desired consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Finally, add the lemon juice. Garnish with asparagus tips when you serve the soup.