Use fresh, young asparagus here or the soup will lack flavor and require straining. Fennel lends a creamy texture and a subtle anise flavor to the soup.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 pounds fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill, plus additional for garnish
- Crème fraîche, sour cream or whipped cream (optional garnish)
In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the fennel and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, dill and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. (May cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, processing in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the pan, place over low heat and heat just until warmed through. Do not boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. If desired, add a dollop of cream and a sprig of dill to each bowl.
From food writer Andrea M. Vayda.
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