Lately I have been completely seduced with all the spring asparagus. Like strawberries, asparagus are another one of those things that are pretty much year round here in SoCal, but taste better in the spring. I found this soup and immediately added it to the meal plan. It's super healthy and light, but very tasty! It is very easy to make this recipe vegan by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock. I actually would have done that myself, but I already had some open chicken stock. This soup is good hot or cold, but I preferred it hot. I may have used a bit more lemon juice than noted in the recipe below. On Friday nights, I'm not really in a measuring mood. I just want something good and fast and this recipe is both of those things!
Lemony Asparagus Soup
(Adapted from Food & Wine, April 2007)
10 ounces (1 small bunch) asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces with a few 3-inch tips reserved
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
One 1-inch wide strip of lemon zest, plus 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Boil all of the asparagus until bright green and barely tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool, then drain again. Set most of the tips aside from the rest of the cut up pieces.
Wipe out the saucepan. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the sliced onion to the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and lemon zest strip, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the lemon zest strip.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and reheat if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips and grated lemon zest. Serve hot or chilled.