Roasted Asparagus Soup with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Parmesan Croutons
- 4 slices bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks, rinsed well and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Roasted asparagus, chopped, about 4 cups
- 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup diced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- Special Equipment: Immersion blender, optional
- Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange bread cubes on prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle cubes with parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the croutons are baking, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add bay leaves and thyme and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add asparagus, potato and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potato is fork tender. Remove bay leaves, and using an immersion blender, or a regular *blender working in batches, puree soup until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and top with sundried tomatoes and croutons.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.