Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan
Smooth, mild and gently flavored with lemon and Parmesan, this asparagus soup tastes wonderfully luxurious. No heavy cream is added for a change — just vegetables, broth and a hint of cheese puréed to silky perfection. I like to serve it with a crusty bread for lunch or a light dinner, especially right now while asparagus is in peak season and there’s still a chill in the air.
Begin by cooking the onions and garlic in butter until soft.
While that’s going, prep the asparagus. Trim off the tips (you’ll use them for a garnish), then cut the remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
Add the chopped asparagus to the pot, along with the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are very tender.
Purée the soup with a hand held immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, you can blend the soup in batches in a blender.
I like to pass the soup through a fine sieve because asparagus is very fibrous. If you use a standard blender to purée the soup, this may not be necessary, but my immersion blender leaves too many fibers behind. It only takes a few minutes and makes a big difference in the end result. The most efficient way is to use a ladle to push the soup in circular motions through a strainer into a large bowl.
Return the soup to the pot and stir in the fresh lemon juice and grated Parmesan cheese.
Finally, cook the asparagus tips in boiling water until tender-crisp.
The best way to preserve the bright green color of the tips and keep them crisp is to shock them in an ice bath, but this is probably only worth it if you’re entertaining. Otherwise, just refresh the tips under cold water.
Finally, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the asparagus tips, fresh herbs, more Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan
- 2 bunches asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil (optional, for garnish)
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut the tips off of the asparagus spears and set aside. Cut the remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add the chopped asparagus (except for the tips) to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the reserved asparagus tips for a few minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water or in an ice bath. Set aside.
- Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions). Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired (you may need up to a teaspoon more salt).
- Ladle the soup into bowls, then top each bowl with asparagus tips, fresh chopped herbs, more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
- Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 162
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 14g
- Sugar: 5g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 11g
- Sodium: 541mg
- Cholesterol: 18mg
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