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Asparagus Soup

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3 bunches pencil asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup thawed, frozen peas or 1 cup shelled fresh English peas (about 1 pound unshelled)

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups lightly packed baby spinach

Parmesan Breadcrumbs:

Four 1/8-inch slices day-old sourdough bread (about 3 ounces)

Olive oil, for drizzling

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

One 3-ounce wedge Parmesan

Garnishes:

Creme fraiche

Finely chopped fresh chives

Fresh cilantro leaves

Lime wedges

Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. For the soup: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring the oil to medium heat. Add the shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Sweat until translucent, about 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Add the asparagus to the pot and sweat until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and sweat another minute. Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pot. Add 5 cups water and continue simmering until crisp-tender, another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Working in batches (and carefully as the liquid will be hot), puree the soup until smooth in a blender. In the last batch, add the baby spinach and puree; this will give the soup a vibrant green color. Strain back into the pot through a fine mesh sieve. Return to a simmer until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  4. For the Parmesan breadcrumbs: While the soup simmers, pulse the bread in a food processor until you have very coarse crumbs. Once processed, transfer the breadcrumbs to a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Toss with the thyme. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray. Using a grater, finely grate a few tablespoons of Parmesan over the breadcrumbs. Place into the oven and bake until golden and crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. To serve: Ladle the soup into shallow serving bowls. Sprinkle evenly with a few teaspoons of Parmesan breadcrumbs and top with a dollop of creme fraiche. Garnish with chopped chives, cilantro leaves, a squeeze of a lime wedge and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.